The Washington Post

Where Congress stands on guns: The team project with ProPublica

On Tuesday, we launched a new project with ProPublica, that shows where Congress stands on gun control. You can use the graphic to see the NRA ratings, Brady Campaign scores and NRA contributions to lawmakers, as well as how members of Congress are planning to vote on upcoming legislation.

The news apps team at ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization geared toward investigative journalism, and the graphics group at the Post joined forces to create the app. The partnership stemmed from a mutual interest in building a project centered on the issue of gun control – as well as in encouraging public participation in the debate

In an early meeting, we talked about how we could share resources. Lena Groeger from ProPublica had already built a version of the “Where Congress Stands” graphic, which presented a multifaceted picture of the current state of Congress on gun issues. We decided to use that framework, and layer in a new section looking toward the future: to upcoming legislation.

Groeger also added several features to the original project, including the cartograms that you can see if you click the ‘map’ tab. Dan Keating from the Post gave her data for NRA campaign contributions going back to 1990, and I built the mobile version.

The crowdsourced segment is a key new feature of the project. We’re asking readers to help us track how the vote is shaping up by calling their elected officials and asking them how they plan to vote. Amanda Zamora at ProPublica and Haley Crum at the Post are leading that effort. So far, 25 senators have been contacted by readers of the Post and ProPublica.

Help us make the presentation more complete by contacting your member of Congress and telling us how they will vote on upcoming legislation.

Take a minute to find your lawmaker and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Kat Downs is Deputy Graphics Director for The Washington Post.

Kat Downs is the Graphics Director at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post in 2008, she worked at The Baltimore Sun and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has taught design at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Georgetown University.

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