Reese News Lab launches Campaign Hound to track upcoming campaign speeches

Jan 25 2016

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The Reese News Lab, a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism, launched its newest service, Campaign Hound, on Jan. 25.

Campaign Hound is a searchable archive and alert service that tracks planned public speeches made by North Carolina candidates who are running for the U.S. Senate and for governor of North Carolina. In addition, the service tracks speeches by presidential candidates who make campaign stops in North Carolina.

The public speeches are recorded, and the audio is transcribed through human and automated transcription services.

Campaign Hound is priced at $2,000 per subscription. Campaign Hound subscribers will receive access to the searchable archive of speeches as well as email alerts. The email alert system informs Campaign Hound users of keywords, such as the name of a city or of a special issue, that they can choose to monitor.  

The service will work with media organizations throughout the state and will track public speeches. Essentially, it will serve a watchdog function with these organizations to help inform journalists and their communities.

“We’re going to give journalists a broader view into the elections, where they aren’t hampered by geography,” Campaign Hound project manager Hannah Wang said. “They’ll actually be able to see what’s going on with the candidates, even when they’re campaigning far away.”

A primary goal behind the service is to inform voters and communities in a more effective manner. With improved access to the exact content in public speeches, journalists can provide a complete picture to voters and keep their communities knowledgeable and up-to-date about election news.

Campaign Hound could also be used as a tool for campaigns, opposition research and political advertisements. Campaign Hound marketing intern Meredith Richards said that because the service is non-partisan, Campaign Hound can have access to all rallies and speeches through crowdsourcing, unlike partisan organizations.

“Our hope is that we could work alongside campaign researchers to provide them with more data to look at during the campaign cycle,” Richards said. “It could lower costs and reduce the amount of staff campaigns have on hand to cover candidates.”

The Lab was a recipient of the Knight News Challenge award for Campaign Hound by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Campaign Hound is the sister project to Capitol Hound, a service also released from the Lab. Capitol Hound provides searchable audio and text archives and a keyword alert system as well. Capitol Hound’s service tracks the legislative sessions of the N.C. General Assembly.

About the Reese News Lab

The Reese News Lab is an experimental media and research project at the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.


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