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The Texas Tribune: Making Data, and State Politics, Public

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of 1 but that and the and the 1 who is half of the and the and the end of the IP ch borough of all thank you for coming in and joining us here in Austin the today and can take it to use your labor day for FIR hang out with a bunch of other dutiful and yes so I work at the Texas Tribune which is a a statement in my slides of news that would you based out of Austin Texas and we cover state level politics and policy uh and so were were relation anything that's going on and that big thing building this down the road and we know the explaining and stood 2nd what what news that means and kind of the bigger picture of the Texas Tribune in an hour of cap technology groups organized as but this
tussle that on the itself on were founded in 2009 and so still relatively young and and forest news organizations go and we watched and on election nite in November of 2009 and ends at work and we were founded as intensely as a as a nonprofit and that was that you know is funded through uh membership so it's a little bit of the kind of PBS and uh impure model we have Foundation support we have uh events that we host that we charge admissions for and the text to reinvest full of examples 1 that's that's coming up here and over the attribute people but the structure of that is actually here and that the uh UT campus HT conference center so I'm here around which container and that we have the largest statehouse news bureau in the United States so that means that we have more people who are covering state politics and dating the other organization and in the US uh which has been was 1 of initial kind of claims to fame in 1 of our kind of goals when we were founded was you and fill in the gap that we saw was a kind of left open as as a lot of the other the news bureaus kind of work were you figuring out where 1 was going the good news is a lot of these these authorizations of the way that rebuilt a lot of that team so good news for taxes and good news for us extend coverage if you if you've never heard
Texas Tribune are and just maybe you may know a couple of these things but we've kept cover a few different projects that we've that that week tend to be known for these sellers explorer and which is
1 out touch a little bit later and is our of 1 of our kind biggest traffic draws on our biggest of actual data applications that we have and currently has more than 350 thousand state employees within it and the need for more than 50 different agencies in the state and this is something that we're constantly updating constantly and adding new agencies and refreshing the data and the kind of goal or purpose of this project is always been to a kind of show in the CIS the taxes were you where the tax order going you know it's it's been it's always been kind of a as you wanna work bread-and-butter expenses that we've always had to be in this can of carrots through uh and I think even the because 10 actions when we when that when the original version of this came out of for I mean this is 1 of our big total that later but this is section 1 of our general apps that I'll be talking about the governments and verses explorer
on same kind of idea and we we get the data that we collect from the Texas formant from justice and which has to be or has this big database of everyone that's in the currently in a state prison system and we've taken it with cleaned it up we presented based on crime breakdown by housing you by the the unit that they're located and and this is updated month month and so most people leave the system that your move far up as well as but but again goal this was originally to you presented a make this something that was a lot more user-friendly than what the state currently had and still has its it's very brick kludgey and it's more kind the search box and and hopefully you will keep finding you know looking for something that you want so this is kind of indicative of a lot of the work that we do at the Tribune is taking these large datasets these large sound state governor produce datasets and turning them into things better up more consumable and and more user friendly and 1 the tribunes kind of maintenance is as always been a you know it's kind of a you a basic news journals intended and it is this kind of serving as like the translators of cover walk innocent and trying something that of the people of Texas can use and and and understand and in our work with with data is is a big part of that as are other 1 other and this is
not a so did a project with the flea 1 of our other kind of claims to famous was our of coverage of the abortion filibuster here in Austin back in 2013 so this is our last lists of the session and this too was almost by stroke of luck that we happen to be at that session had got a agreement with the state to stream the Lifestream the House and Senate chambers and uh we we know that they've always had the ability for to do this but it was a horrible horrible Real player powered monstrosity back in the uh 1 the back rooms of the capital and and we we we get on a kind of organized then to give trend is something that could actually be on you too can be streamed to you to which really opened up the audience in a bit in this the ability fueled actually see this stream of again this this kind of just so happened to be that that was a very good year to to have had that life even have that life look into know what was going on in the house and said that it was a very long nite alone but uh you know we've with this this was kind of are pushed us into doing something where similar this year as well and and really can change the the dynamic there that that it's it's now really honest expected and and and understood that this is something that you people be overwatch all across the state of so so today or
when I'm I'm hoping to get to get that to tell what about is that like as as a news organization and and as as a free small and I'm like how do we can go into our decision making about when and when not teaching go for projects and and and when we if we do decide to use it like what's what goes into making those decisions in terms of how we're going to architected how we're going to have choose what components are part of it and approach the deadlines and can turn around for that how we make that's that's small team work in this capacity nobody can explaining the dynamic that he hears the sack and and then it's gonna talk about the the couple of these projects the salaries database we 1 of them so that I think it's kind of good representations of the processes that we we took in how we went from that you starting with starting with scanner day 1 that Brinster meeting and got to find product and for Soviet the some time for questions at the and so on and as Elvis going to add this to the if there's like and results when the 2nd there's a news Epstein as a platform team so there's very technical questions are amenable to address the 3 of them right back there so the thing so do not feel free to ask those questions because launcher 1 of stability and yeah to so news
that's what what what does that even mean and so it was actually write the end of last session on the 2013 session that we decided that we have the right to have force that we had a technology team that was responsible for a whole lot and still are and do a great job but but was getting spread very thin by kind editorial demands but also the demands of business I the marking side membership and and kind of looking at how all the rest of the industry was going where they were kind of making these dedicated teams to producing control products and we knew that this is something that we also need to do so that parents and who is 1 of my coworkers mother co-leads of the news steam I and Travis Wester was also here there was with us at the time we we can split off and in kind of deemed ourselves the news Epstein and then our job is to be kind of dedicated to what you know anything that editorial needed plus and these kind of more editorial focus as data projects like salaries prisons and and other ones that came up so we do still have an architect platform team answers there began back there and there responsible for building and maintaining our continental system and they're the ones that work work closely with marketing membership in business and to kind of get their needs and then working parsley on the Tribune festival on side and large uh and um also a a response for keeping the ship afloat and they're they're the ones that that keep an eye out on deployments and what we've come and work closely with news apps to kind of as we as we get to the point phases with our projects and we'd often and turned the platform instantly Daniel back there and to to make those things happen and and I apologize for what's what's next year I just I was level every conference
every talk the talk spurt Dr. which Eminem briefly mention it has to have it has to have a ship container thing so I I want to continue anyone a break that that threat thread so there's been a lot of great ship at an art this command of this product and so news apps
so we are actually on the editorial team so we're aware technologies that are embedded with the reporters and with the multimedia team of the arc common uh to do and Development based around that and I know this is being a good right stress like were sitting in the same room as reporters raw together and that's also true that team so that the Tribune we've we've always tried to really keep those walls and take those walls down and not let it be very much kind of technology is over here in news people over here for all kind of working toward the same goal and were always in conversation always talking and so what we're we're the team that's that's kind of dedicated to doing the developed world for anything that comes from for all that depending on the time of year depending on the kind of scope of the project so we we kind of morph into different kind of kind of arrangements and we do also work on graphics that you see running our stories we build Interactive's and we do the explores again like salaries and prisons and also work on the kind of the big bigger series features that we know of more kind of text or a multimedia based work of the web development team that that puts those together and we also response working on data reporting which is was which is uh the fly kind of mechanized background and we've we can came from being more kind of data reporters for the News remained in transition to be doing more development and we still do that stuff as well so the status of datasets command reporters need help with kind of passing through a bigger dataset is making sense of it and that's still kind of falls under our the time just a kind
of give power couple of a now these these links are all be included in this again of give list of things that you can touch the best example of of some of the things that we've been overcome we've focused on the faces of death row for example was our project that looked at the the kind of look to everyone who is currently on death row in the State of Texas and which is is that we should have looked at and stats on that but that at the time this is an older photo cost of the number of people more than 200 people are on our on death row in Texas and and we we went to the painstaking process of getting and the mug shots for fathers individuals and which was was was something that the state C was not not at the 1st really really wanted to release it but you know we wanted to 2 % of this this large group of people that and that a disk and then some people more than 40 years of this kind of in this system and and in commune give can resurface that conversation I have 1 interactive side and stop writers are a kind of this a snapshot of our reservoirs explore this is our kind of this life tracking of the state of the reservoirs in Texas but this is something that we have not gender but this is something that we've we've had for 3 you for years now and and we make every day get a fresh data that's that this keeping track of the state of errors were indexes and this is 1 of our cover of more 1 the but popular apps that a lot of 1 of our audience Attention water issues animal will vary quickly tell me whenever it's out of date and so we have a small passion audience for that in the Texas list diverse the bottom right which I'll touch on again in this that I was our there are big projects that the beginning of this year to kind of combination of data and editorial and to to kind of approach the coverage of the place of a sessional but differently and so 1 thing I
wanted to cut touch on this this leaving the break at regarded teams part of was another part of the reason that we have to have the explicit platform team and news Epstein is there's this this formal informal kind of line in the sand for editorial and that we know we intentionally keep it that way and well we we all like everyone and in your isation and we all get along great it's deeply cat meant to be a as some you know separator there's a reason why news apps doesn't do membership and doesn't do business and you know it's it's it's it's you know we we feel better about knowing that that the teams that are dedicated editorial don't touch any that stuff and that's that's been kind of our our another big part of breaking out at the 2 teams in separate kind groups because we wanted to we appeal to maintain and the course doesn't mean we don't still you know if technology things come up that you know we want that fuckin itself will help was and but we differ control states for you as much as we can with the content aspect of that so long as you know it being a talkative and the assumption that we're using Django all the time and but but
don't actually uh where we very much but you know it just found at random things which to do use all these the flask middlemen known as you know we always wanna make sure that were producing
with the right tool that is it is it that can be assigned a cap and has no database has no observer is a fantastic good day and I will I will fight for every every every project can be that way and this is a cuss magnets down to practically nothing about this hoping that history does a good I know so because the team is so small here this is this is really important that we don't let everything kind of blossom into a big the Django a big city like database project because there's only so much time that we have more also kind of on the hook for maintaining all of these previous salaries prisons all these other apps that I don't really have in it will it will continue and perpetually until I guess the Tribune is no more which um so of we know we want to save the bigger tools the heavy lifting for the projects under that you know more suited for that I to so corsican pivots into the question of why we are doing gender at all but I think Rosa's OK time and flask is is deaf was simple and you know if we need this kind of have something that's sitting in front of the end point that's great but and studied inside generators of just exploded in the past couple years and it's just kind of continuing down the path and there some realizations that will have committed to only doing things that way and I think that that's that's that can be a challenge if you really refusing Deborah touch on a server a a database but so it is certainly possible and but for us you know it's it's the the batteries that are included that gender this makes it really easy for us to to turn projects were quick or at minimum explore project for a quick and you know there were obvious 1 and enjoyment of we do you know I don't you think that we've when some of our situations we've we've leaned on the amenable too much but it but for internal projects it's been fantastic because you get that basic kind of current setup for free and we've mail to kind of do you spend up an apple quick just for data entry and just for working reporters and that has been a something that we know we can't scrape something that we can do as discussed process through is a spreadsheet and what we want to you know ensure that we have kind of the validation in place for every step of that process and often we
almost it's if there's a very good chance that if we ever are touching GenGO we are using Dugin go and put stress in some capacity and almost that promise anything we've we've done has this kind of distance GIS element to it so and often were looking at things at the county level at the city level at the at comparing you know the state tolls to local totals but end the real power of this combination is that we just we get to spend a lot less time thinking about how to manage that data how to turn into something usable on we can loaded myeloablative go out and that's that's that's definitely kind of a good and discuss at a lot of that that very distracting figure out how to organize things and many of our and can
we have so we can have 2 different kinds kits that we have built that we have our or Django powered contemplating that verb set up it's meant for you new more traditional apps for you have to do this in year loading all the data there in the generating pages from that and we also use some kind of ah version of our sites a generator which is written in node and that users of much of the new language called objects which is almost identical to gender to an inspector kind of crazy how how they that amylose it's so closely but the advantage is that you know the between agenda temple language and 2 there's not you know there are differences but because they're similar enough you know were able to get designers and other developers to really kind of when they're needing to build pages that the mental jump is not very far and you know if there's that's they can kind of go from working on a set a cap and looping through data and the building lists and income to Agenda project into the very same thing and and it's it's not not a big like lots of time for the for the differences between the 2 so that comes up but and it's great for a for his having that that break out of uh for me 1 of the best things being all to do the data modeling and this my my weird favorite part of doing anything gender and is building up the models because that's at the people's like like almost to me for some reason and but you know it's great because we can we can use this again it's all those built and all those and kind of affordances that you can get from from just being a modeling would what does look like all the validators all the forms that come along with it and and then using those forms and validators for the loading of government it so we know we have you know we know we know we get we can use the built-in Django kind of walking systems to you too can thought that flag and say there's something funny here the state doesn't have 3 characters in the year you know is examples like that and you know when we you know doing a lot of things kind of with Excel's sometimes we don't know it would it was nice that come across those sort of things it was very easy for us to kind of kind of passed through an and not notice something was wrong and in because it's so easy to spend is up and so easy to you and kind of build out those those those kind of structures for this this you know we can we can we know it's worth the extra kind of like Our work to build up something and just so we get all the picture and
of course Django being and you know burst of a news organization we've and you know we have a great communities that that we can work with that interact with you know if there's challenges or if there's In this washing whatever else is doing I I put this up here just because if if anyone knows much about the kind of the news layout are kind of landscape in terms of platforms and things that your times always been very crucially rails use everything even if there's go back there and everything but I I was very excited to see that that gender was starting to make its way and so have soft you during the hours uh so for how we can have we
we approach our projects and we have we we we know that often their time and you might be very tight and it's it's very rare that there's 1 exception which of the 2 that we there's very rare that we have kind of a long like years 6 months it kind of span renegade to really work on projects take time tweeted pushed back for months and certainly happens but often you there's all these other kind of elements that go into and or system that we need out quick as if if a project is going to not will exist forever and I'm like 1 of the beta 1 and beta data apps and they must have a sense we have to have a process for and eventually tournaments server off uh because we've is the thing we've seen a lot we even we've experienced some we've seen a lot of other reason user izations that you know that the ease of building it is exciting and then you get up it's running in the roads excited but then eventually you know something it's not something that's that's mine being updated on a regular basis someone's and forget about that and you know worst-case scenario goes down the other case is it's just bleeding money and you're not been one's no really noticing that so we know we was would be sure that we have a plan for kind of this it turn off the extracted events and letting it continue to exist in this kind of frozen state the so the
1st of the project so standard this was in touch on was the disappearing around it so we can now actually the is
people who can't cook on that but I so this project was that 1 that was pitch to a
spy freelance reporter and then call MacDonald and he that use to work at the same time news of and was was had been itching to find some pathway to traveling all the way down the river and the river and anyone at a place to publish this you want a place that to kind of maintain can a running blog of what his experience was and is going to have a an award-winning photographer traveling with him and he would ready instead of a Kickstarter and was was getting that funded and reach out to us and said hey do you wanna beat the partner on this and when you that express-news he actually kyat all the way across the than Texas coast went from bottom to Louisiana side and he will hiked across Big Bend and my 12 days and so the credentials certainly checked out the this he was very serious about uh taking starting all the way up in Colorado incoming up with the gulf and so this is a project that kind of you know regrettably snuck up on us because we've we the kind with back-and-forth about the feasibility of getting it you know being a partner in and how that was going to work and this is kind in that weird little boy when we were and how the post-transition and figure out how we're going to carry on this project and so but you know we knew that this this was something that was going to rise the level of a go power project
so for the you know we needed to have as a we needed a way to get out there was actually recalls a constant do a lot of data collection as he was traveling down the river and he was and taking water measurements every nite so every every there were there camping along the river when they were in place of their logic to camp on our got permission from the private owners of property owners and then at every point he was doing a water measurement and test what the state of the river was at that time and at that location so when we were building so we had to build something that was that supported and that that was easy for him to to get that data into the system and there's an extra level of you know he was going to be often you sleeping a tents and was not a sailors and have a good enough connection to just be sitting there you typing numbers into the genuine and so you know I had to be something that he could e-mail off and gets and if if someone can help him we did all that information but was probably to me the coolest part of his have trip was that he had this full look like a essentially that was a this another kind of paying up to ocellatus said this why this is my well on right now and we were we were able to work with the kind of all craters of that system to get access to the API and think get that feature so like as every time he hit a point we would know within were checking it public every 10 15 minutes and we would know in 10 15 minutes exactly where it was at and we're using that data can build out these this can bigger interactive maps that that that showed like where he traveled that during that day at bank and collect into this big like bigger amount that was looking at what as you know his whole contradictory as each of them and we also had a candidate uploads build several galleries because again this year tomorrow waste this fantastic retort for those traveling with so and probably 1 of the biggest thing is this this this whole universe had the 1 kind of product you're like suggest and I'll make and an advocate for was and that white noise which has
been 1 of our cannons you know a great great tool to have for for this progress and we don't have to worry about you know building out not set search for everything even though it is no list like this for 2 weeks and white noise and wraps that up into a when goes service so provides and that's the kind of same functionality but it's built wrapped in and it was really kind of or not present originally those been was because it was the pitch is a good partner with like a recruit and because you get that carried out to set up all that separates posting for the static files and but for our purposes it's been great because again it's so simple answer reported and you know specify nap again something exist for a couple of weeks or months and it's not ever gonna really have a low that we know we need to like that out this kind of multi redundancies set uh so this this is 1 of the stars of every every act of users and but 1 of is can plug at the request the
taxes listed about shut off show this to the picture of a little later on was again that was our most recent kind of bigger Django project and in our approach was that we've we've had covered a couple sessions and usually we know we had our standard stories and coverage that was going along with that and we had built up the past Bill trackers effectively so using the state's data to and to to kind of like Kabir owns interface on the states kind of the state of the bills of and in section and which works and name was good and it was deftly a much more enjoyable kind of weight and rapid that build data and boat what were kind of approaching this this this this way but this new session we really wanted to try to further out a way
to do that differently because we cannot approach to you know we felt we approach while those processions like rebuilt record that were done and book but for me in this kind of personal kind of challenge have a that was that here we often in stories would talk about these build become a 20 11 and every time a reporter wrote about it would be best be 20 and but he came into this session you know month or 2 n that will never means nothing to you know there's there's no there's there's you know it's it's this it's it's not attached to the actual issue when you know for some people it you know crisis that level that they recognize what that is but if you're not so following this day today so that that will number know could potentially be an idiot before hunting for what that actually means of and also as we know the challenge in taxes that issues on bills just because a bill dies dishonestly mean that issue 1 way of public up 1 amendment that notify the threat of kind of connection to happen in the very same language to end up somewhere else but now the voltage different and so we want to approach it you know again less less about the lumber more about actual issues that we were that that were being covered and there really want to let the reporters be content experts that they were that that that you know it was less about kind of trying to aggregate all this data into 1 place that some go look at but giving a platform to the poorest actually can maintain this evergreen look at what each 1 is issues were you know going through so so like the campus caring for example like you know we you know we were covering that varied as you know constantly but you know that the language in the bill that was doing that kept moving kept traveling and but instead of just making about that Bill number in and explain every time that change and you know we instead this let it be scanned block attacks at the reporter obscuring and in building camps list of stories that they've been writing about it but that the what forms and you what's happening with that issue verses and this can have a try to draw all these lines in recent story like 3 paragraphs beginning of what used to be here and now it's here and it also we really wanted this to be something that had a designated and you know we want this to be something that I that that that was purposely dedicated to being your resource at the end of the day so I get so 1 session ended up it would be kind of like frozen and and be a source that you can go to and see OK what happened in this session what what happened with this issue that was following here we re wrote all the kind of summary text to be conclusions to tutors to those things and that this effect of
1 and a lot of money so just to touch and quick governing cells explorer and this has been and 1 of the oldest apps that we have a vector 20th guessing 2010 said that there's been variations of that existed so it's it's kind of action question mark when it 1st when you that consider technically up there and but this is the will or 1 that we
are costly updating maintaining and going to give it the proper shelter Travis was good and then who who did a book of Canada from work on it and then I ran with a wanted to close it out there but a big part of of what we have going forward this is is really wanting to abstract out the the data elements of in the presentation elements of this is actually 2 separate Django apps that we we built for this purpose and the goal there was to you know knowingly like approaching it as there's a there's a friend and kind of element of user facing we're facing but also wanting to be able to use that data internally and have kind of that to the data happen this case and they can be repurposed for anything we want to get into an and not as they haven't had to travel with different elements of a I can get that like going but running time and so on but again that just a touch on what the self meaning so that the repo NXT all reports from this project of top butter actually on open source and on on a date have and but you know we wanted to make sure that that that there's code it's written to clean up every single dataset that goes into the salaries an and in a byproduct of being being the public repose that we wanted to be both self-documenting but also transparent so people can see kind of how we walk through and cleaning up each agency's dataset and kind of normalizing it to fit in the kind modeling that we've done and next on our
agenda is this redoing our public schools at the fitting was seen that the fiscal looking at the um looking at data for a public the school and district in taxes and many people find their and by the school and see were ranks in relation to schools narrative and would stay and I was actually hoping to show some of that here today but we've which was very I was way too optimistic about both time and also how far we get along working on that so that so just as would keep an eye out for in the coming next month so much enough for today and here
so let anyone ask questions if they like and this will be making this presentation public in China but these are links to all the the projects and the things that mentioned and genesis and think
you few make you run a looks like we have 2 3 minutes for questions I 1 actually that since you've been working with always government agencies over last years have you noticed in the change in behavior on the side of other more aware of like exporting data you notice like are they getting better at you know being more transparent making it more available to the public yet but ask a question of yes no and it it it so I think they know are best example of this is certainly with the salaries and which we've we went through a lot of the nodes can a fortune to be part of a lot of conversations but you know we we cast when we 1st started that we we interact with what it is agencies it is not like we don't know that there's something we wanna give you they act we can do that as we as we found that such as public data but in the end you know it's kind of like you know we it's so from the best analogy for his you we do we've done the motions enough that they kind of understand you know can so don't don't play the game of of 0 that's gonna be hard because we really fought that battle and here is a list of a relief of the battle with and you've you're wasting your time and here's a opinion that we've won the battles so you know like when we 1st were going to a lot of these no would get like like all we have a main frame and in the state of Texas you chicken charge a lot of money for for or getting open records that have a mainframe it's it's there yet reserve time but then I believe it was going say was UT Dallas summer harvest in honor of actually wasn't them it another is see that we'd like since they asked we got to the point where like prove that you active a mainframe before you charges you know 800 dollars and it comes it turned out that did not fit in and did not know that they did have 1 which was the most amazing part of that a that is it was just a charge that they were this knew that they could make and that yeah no 1 ever really pushed on so a lot of agencies that we would now like to preserve database for example and that's like we that we really like a range that like they know we can get it you know they do charters for we pay it's it's it's a transaction that's misunderstood In general come across the stadium and I think that I think that you know that this is becoming a site taxes like it's becoming more pathetic it's more you know people or asking for the set not just even in the news outlets and a lot of places that we've interacted with over the years that used to just you know it can flow if if you don't assign solitaire open records person is it is being like the head of the agency and analogs organizations now have dedicated people dedicated teams to fulfilling them and so I'm again your fortunate that in Texas in this is true for the 2 of which are pretty generous open records law and it's it's a lot of kind of no 1 wants to be in the best way I can get back at other people is making more open and your Baltics which is fantastic for drills of the and we defatting event and so I I think yeah we this this certainly still stops but I that I think it's it's it's become a thing that were we we even having is reaching out to a set of like a we wanna make this available how can we do this better so you know it then goal they're wanting to save time and money and we wanna do that too so it it's it's it's a year I would never say it's groups in there but in a difference in temporal passages that thank my e
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel The Texas Tribune: Making Data, and State Politics, Public
Serientitel DjangoCon US 2015
Teil 26
Anzahl der Teile 46
Autor Murphy, Ryan
Mitwirkende Confreaks, LLC
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung 3.0 Unported:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen.
DOI 10.5446/32792
Herausgeber DjangoCon US
Erscheinungsjahr 2015
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract The goal of everything we do is the same – how can we produce something useful for the citizens of Texas that enable them to be better participants in their state government? Our News Apps team is responsible for the building and maintaining of editorial-focused data explorers. Django's ease of use has made it possible for us to architect both robust back-end systems for managing the government data sets that power these apps, and to build compelling interfaces to the data for our users to find their own stories. More details on the three projects we'd discuss: The Government Salaries Explorer is our most popular explorer. This project manages the payroll data we've collected of more than 300 thousand public employees, providing a peak behind the curtains into how tax dollars are being spent. It required a system that could standardize the many different formats a public agency may release its payroll information to us, but also remain easy to use for all members of the team so updates happen in a timely fashion. The Texas Legislative Guide was our spin on a legislative bill tracker. Instead of placing all the focus on the bills themselves, we instead created a platform for our reporters to provide context on the many topics and issues that come up during a legislative session. While we still have the capacity for users to search for bills, the site's bigger focus is on the potential changes this session's legislation may have on the state. And finally, our upcoming revamp of our Public Schools Explorer will be a Django app. This project is currently in it's very early stages, but it's on track to be released by DjangoCon so there will be plenty to show by then! The challenge – how can we take Texas Education Agency data and turn it into something usable for the citizens – and parents – of Texas? We are building an interface that makes it easy to compare and districts and campuses to one another, opening up state data that has always been public but frustratingly trapped within complicated web forms and paper printouts. While this proposal is more focused on "what we did with Django" vs. "how we did it" – although that will be touched on as well – I believe the work we've produced is a testament to the impact we've been able to have on the state and its citizens thanks to the support of a system that works well for us.

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