Thursday, April 5, 2012

There's an App - Whipcast

Here's an app for journalists to add to their smartphones or tablets - WhipCast.
   Whipcast is a creation of the office of the Republican Whip in the House of Representatives, and provides a one-stop shop of information on Republican legislative activities, including press releases, legislative documents and materials, tools for communicating with Congressional offices and leaders, and what's the focus of daily activities. It's also winner of four American Association of Political Consultants "Pollie" awards - a Gold Pollie in the category of “Best Use of Technology,” a Bronze Pollie for “Best Use of Humor” for the “There’s An App For That” video, an Honorable Mention for “Best Use of Mobile Technology,” and to top things off, the “Best of the Best” Award for Internet Public Affairs. 
"As Majority Whip, I understand the importance of utilizing technology to enhance the communications and outreach efforts of the House Republican Conference, while also making the House more open and transparent to the American people,” said Majority Whip McCarthy. “WhipCast embodies these objectives and reaffirms our commitment to changing the culture of Washington, ... I am very proud of all the work that has gone into making it such a success.”
  Yes, it's partisan, in that it focuses on Republican activities and provides the Republican perspective on current political issues - but what's important is that it is an app that makes that information more readily accessible.  I'd hope that the (supposedly more tech-savvy) Democrats would see the success of WhipCast and recognize the value of developing their own app/ information service to provide information and support materials for their efforts.
   For journalists, political junkies, and pundits, any quick and easy source of information should be welcome, particularly one that provides access to documents and materials. Materials that could support or refute talking points that are all-too-often accepted at face value (and if wrong or misleading, contributes to the declining trust in news).
  The WhipCast app is free, and available for all major mobile OS platforms.


  1. WhipCast seems to have the potential to revolutionize the way information from Washington is presented to citizens. Even though it is partisan, this is the most direct link to present clear and concise information to constituents.

    Journalists would be wise to use this app and use it often. As is often the case today, breaking news moves at an increasingly fast pace. WhipCast provides journalists and bloggers with an easy and direct link to press releases and information sources while on the go. In the age of a 24 hour news cycle, WhipCast could be used to quickly back up or debunk quotes or stories that are put on-air by cable news networks.

    WhipCast has the potential to help not only make the line of communication between politicians and citizens more direct, but it also can help fact check or provide story sources almost immediately.

  2. So many people complain about the separation between politics and everything else. Citizens want to be plugged in to what is going on from a political point of view, and although many say the reason we are not already is because we cannot comprehend all of the "lingo" or the details of the situation. I could not disagree more. It is because of the lack of information publically presented to the masses. Sure, journalists are able to get their hands on some information, but most of that information is then tweeked in a way that once again creates a separation between citizens and politics.

    I think that WhipCast is the future for politics. Sure, its partisan, but it is only a matter of time until "there's an app" for the Democratic side as well. This app is so innovative in sending out immediate information to anyone who so desires it. This is the closest and most real connection with politics that citizens can have.

    Yes, it is sad that that connection is being brought through a smartphone or a tablet, but hey. We take what we're given and you roll with it. We live in a society that thrives on 24 hour workdays and they expect their news, weather and political updates to act the same way. This app is only the beginning, and I appreciate the direction it is going.

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  4. Yes this app does have some merit. Especially, in the fact that it allows journalists to get updates on a major party's legislative actions and tools for reaching out to party members. However, from the press release aspect, it is hard to accept this partisan application as a quality source of truth. It is the job of the journalist to observe without bias so with due diligence, this application should still be helpful for any journalist. I do find it to be a little concerning, however, that all information comes directly from the GOP and the information released will almost always be slanted in that direction.