Searching for campaign finance records on the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure board website has always been a nightmare — files are stored in PDF format and aren’t machine readable, so content is essentially siloed in an outdated system. So in February 2011, I decided to download 19k records and use Scribd to digitize and make the campaign finance records searchable. While the data is outdated now, I felt like it showed how easy it was for someone to use a little 21st century technology to improve a system built for a bygone era of campaign finance records submitted via paper documents.
While not the prettiest site, I hard-coded McCainvsIowa.com in 2008 to showcase positions that Senator John McCain had taken in his career that were diametrically opposed to issues that most Iowans care about. The concept was cloned in battleground states across the country by the DNC. Check out the site on the Way Back Machine. I also produced six videos for the website with Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Soundtracks, and LiveType. The videos use McCain’s own words and the words of other elected officials to prove the argument that McCain was out of touch with Iowans. This was my first real introduction to video research and the majority of the content was either found on CSPAN or on YouTube.