05 February 2009

Obama Pledges Tested Online

Journalists at the St Petersburg Times are holding the new president to account with their all new topical Obameter.

Featured on The Times’s PolitiFact.com website, the Obameter will measure Barack Obama’s success in meeting some 500 of his pre-election promises.

To create the list of promises, reporters had to plough through transcripts from speeches, TV interviews and more during Obama’s campaign to find the things making up his future to-do list.

PolitiFact explains the process: “To make sure we selected promises that could be measured, we set some definitions.

“We said a promise ‘is not a position statement. It is a prospective statement of an action or outcome that is verifiable’.”

Journalists then track the progress of these promises putting them into categories: Promise Kept, Promise Broken, Compromise, Stalled, In The Works and No Action.

The site’s editor Bill Adair told Editor & Publisher: “Although we rely on the new technology of the Web to publish our work, our mission remains a simple and traditional one: to empower democracy.”

PolitiFact.com was set up by the St Petersburg Times to fact check the statements of politicians via its Truth-o-Meter checks.

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