August 23, 2012

CNN | ReadWriteWeb

Time to hit the app stores, politics junkies. As the party conventions and fall election season arrive, a bunch of new mobile applications are launching that help users get the latest news, engage in conversation, fact-check claims and inspect the source of advertising.

The Washington Post today released an update to its WP Politics for iPad app, adding a new section called “The Forum” with easily browsable Twitter lists that organize more than 300 relevant accounts into six groups: news outlets, campaigns, partisans, prominent office holders, fact checkers, and jesters (like @ColbertReport and @LOLGOP).

There’s also a “trending” section at the top that highlights the most-retweeted items from each category. The goal, Washington Post director of mobile products Ken Dodelin told me, is to make tweets accessible and relevant to the many people who don’t use Twitter themselves.

“This is a way to get the content of value out of Twitter and in front of them, without having to do all the work,” Dodelin said. “And for the folks who use Twitter a lot, but haven’t really spent the hours and hours to get a robust organization set up in politics, this enables them to do that.”

Time Warner has a brand new CNN-Time Convention Floor Pass app for iPhone, iPad and Android. It will have the customary news, analysis and alerts from the party conventions, as well as a daily Time magazine “cover” image and cover story, multimedia of past convention speeches and a social dashboard of election-related tweets and iReport integration.

And then there are some new tools aimed at fact-checking and bringing transparency to political advertising.

Settle It! has easy tools to look up or request fact-checks, a list of trending items and a quiz to test your knowledge.

PolitiFact, Poynter and the Knight Foundation just launched Settle It!, an iPhone and Android app that lets users quickly find out whether a political claim is true or false (or Pants on Fire!) and alert their friends to misinformation. It also includes a quiz game that tests the user’s ability to rate the truthfulness of recent statements. (I wrote earlier about 5 lessons to learn from that app project.)

The Sunlight Foundation released a new iPhone and Android app called Ad Hawk, which uses the device’s microphone to listen to an ad as it’s airing on TV, matches the audio signature against a database of ads, and then returns campaign finance data about the campaign or Super PAC that paid for the ad. (More from ReadWriteWeb on how that app came to be.)

MIT Media Lab students released a Super PAC iPhone app with a similar audio-matching technology, which returns campaign finance data and links to related fact-checking articles.

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Jeff Sonderman ( is the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute. He focuses on innovations and strategies for mobile platforms and social media in…
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