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# sunlight-academy-content
The content from Sunlight Academy as markdown.
# Sunlight Academy Content
The content from Sunlight Academy as markdown files.

[Pivot Tables](

[Advanced Google Searches](

[Follow the Money in Election 2012: Return on Investment (webinar)](


[Learning about ](

[Political Ad Sleuth](

[Lobbying Contribution Reports](

[Mapping Campaign Finance Data](


[Lobbying Registration Tracker](

[Setting Up Datajam](

[Lobbying Report Form](

[Data Visualizations in Google Docs](

[Introducing Foreign Influence Explorer: A database on foreign agents and their clients](

[Unlocking APIs](

[Scout (webinar)](

[Exploring State Legislative Data](

[Uncover Political Fundraising](

[Using Influence Explorer to Track Campaign Contributions](

[Collaborative reporting tools](

[How to Follow the Money in your Congressional Race (webinar)](

[Uncovering the Spending Behind Political Ads (webinar)](

[Follow the money in campaign 2014 and beyond (webinar)](

[Intro to Docket Wrench: Explore the Influence Behind the Regulatory Process (webinar)](

[Political Ad Information at Your Finger Tip (webinar)](

[Election Day Countdown (webinar)](

[Follow the Unlimited Money (webinar)](

[Political Fundraising Unveiled (webinar)](

[Intro to Open States: Legislative Data Across All 50 States (webinar)](

[Advanced Campaign Finance Search With Raw Data](

[APIs and datasets](

[Docket Wrench docket-wrench-training](

[Follow the Midterm Money Trail in Real Time follow-midterm-money-trail-real-time](

[State PAC data and influence tools (webinar)](

[APIs in the Newsroom (webinar)](

[Uncover Political Fundraisers with Political Party Time (webinar)](

[Reintroducing OpenCongress: Federal Legislation Made Easy (webinar)](

[Fixed Fortunes: What top corporate political players get out of Washington 2014 (webinar)](

[Fixed Fortunes 2015 (webinar)](
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<h1>Advanced Campaign Finance Search With Raw Data</h1>

Once you've gotten the hang of Influence Explorer, take it to the next level. Go pro by clicking the "data" tab and digging into the raw data and spreadsheets. This tutorial walks you though the nitty gritty.
In a previous module we showed how you can get information on campaign finance with Influence Explorer. Now we’ll demonstrate some deeper dives for those of you who want to work with the raw data yourselves. Geek-out warning: Extremely detailed explanations below. But once you are done with this module, you will be a certified campaign finance expert!

Let’s head over to <a href=""></a> and get started.

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

Go to the <a href="" target="_blank">“Search the Database”</a> tab. Notice that the default is campaign finance searches. You can use the menu at the left to switch to other datasets. We’ll show you how to work with them in another module.

For now, let’s stay with campaign finance searches. The drop-down menus make it easy to narrow your search to find exactly the data you’re looking for. For example, let’s say we want to search for campaign contributors to John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, but we want to find only those contributors from Boehner’s home state, Ohio, and only during the 2011-2012 campaign cycle. Here’s how we’d do that:

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Decoding the Data Spreadsheet</h3>

Once the spreadsheet has downloaded to your computer, open it in Excel or other compatible programs. Doing so reveals additional columns than the Influence Explorer preview showed. We’ll walk you through the spreadsheet in the next video, and because the information is detailed we’ve included a cheat sheet with screenshots.

<img src="//" width=680 />

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

Whew! Take a minute to decompress!

That completes our dive into Influence Explorer’s campaign finance database. Armed with this knowledge, your explorations will be limited only by your imagination. Check back with us for <a href="">more training</a> on how to use the rest of Influence Explorer’s datasets on lobbying, earmarks, federal contracts, contractor misconduct and more. Happy diving!
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<h1>Advanced Google Searches</h1>

Google has made search easy and effective, but that doesn't mean it can't be better. Learn how to effectively use Google's Advanced Search operators so you can get what you're looking for without wasting time on irrelevant results. I know you already know how to use Google to search the web, but do you know how to really use Google to search the web and answer your questions?

For example, if you search, "What time is it in Hong Kong?" Google will <a href=",or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=aeab4a4c862ea5b9&biw=1007&bih=764">give you the answer</a> right on the result page.

<img src=""/>

Or, if you're more concerned with financial figures, simply enter the stock symbol into Google's search bar and you'll <a href=",or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=aeab4a4c862ea5b9&biw=1007&bih=764">get real-time prices</a>. The ticker even updates as you watch it.

<img src=""/>

But those are just party tricks compared to the truly impressive things the search giant can do.

<h3>Search operators</h3>

Google has a bank of advanced search operators -- terms that are used to help broaden or narrow a search -- that can make your search more specific and successful.

One such operator, "site:URL," allows you to confine your search to a specific website:

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

Often, this method of searching inside of sites works better than using a site's own search tool.

You can also use an operator to narrow what kind of files Google should be searching. In other words, you can tell Google to look for only Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, text files and <a href="">many others</a>. Just use the operator "filetype:XXX."

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Mix and match</h3>

Of course, you're not limited to using just one search operator at a time. You can mix and match them to craft narrow searches. For example, maybe you want to search for CSV, or comma-separated value files on the Sunlight Foundation's website. No problem:

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Boolean booyah!</h3>

Another way to search Google is to use what are known as the boolean operators, better known as "AND," "OR" and "NOT."

By default, Google uses the "AND" operator to connect all of your search terms, which could eliminate some valuable results that the "OR" operator would catch. Here's an example:

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

(Tip: If typing "OR" is too tedious, you can use the pipe character -- that's the | on the backslash key -- instead and save a keystroke!)

Meanwhile, the "NOT" operator helps you eliminate unwanted results. For example, let's say you're interested in the planet Saturn. Simply searching for "Saturn," could yield all kinds of unrelated results, such as the car or the Roman god. That's where the "NOT" operator, which can also be expressed with the minus sign, comes to the rescue.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Google's gone wild</h3>

One of the limitations of search is the variation in language. If you're interested in car accidents involving teenagers, what should you search for? Teen? Teens? Teenagers? That's where the wildcard, or asterisk, comes in.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

The tilde (typed as ~) is another powerful character in search, as it allows searchers to find similar words. Just put a tilde in front of the word you are willing to exchange and let the search results flow.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Math tutor</h3>

Given Google's engineering roots, it's not surprising that the search engine is also a mighty calculator. Simply type in your math problem and let Google solve it for you.

You can learn about Google's other <a href="">hidden powers</a>, or see the site's <a href="">advanced search page</a> that organizes all of these operators into a simple form.
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<h1>APIs and datasets</h1>

Recorded webinar from July 29, 2014 that explored Sunlight Foundation's APIs and datasets for the newsroom.

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

In this session geared toward newsroom developers, you will learn how to access the Sunlight Foundation's APIs and bulk data to create customized, local news apps. Most of Sunlight's tools — Influence Explorer, Open States, Party Time — and more, have APIs accessible to anyone. Our developers will walk you through how to use them.

Here are the datasets we covered:

<a href="">Influence Explorer/Real-Time</a><br>
<a href="">Political Ad Sleuth</a><br>
<a href="">Political Party Time</a><br>
<a href="">Congress</a><br>
<a href="">Open States</a><br>
<a href="">Capitol Words</a><br>

This is part of Investigative News Network and Sunlight Foundation's Summer Webinar Series.
@@ -0,0 +1,19 @@
<h1>APIs in the Newsroom (webinar)</h1>

Recorded webinar from December 9, 2013 that provides a tutorial for how to use Sunlight APIs for journalists.

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

The Sunlight Foundation offers free APIs for a number of our tools and projects. Our six APIs (or application programming interfaces) are a great resource for news developers, researchers and reporters. Our APIs cover a variety of topics from what Congress says daily to upcoming bills in a state assembly to whom issues federal rulemaking comments.

APIs covered during this one-hour webinar include:
<li>Capitol Words API</li>
<li>Congress API v3</li>
<li>*new!* Docket Wrench API</li>
<li>Influence Explorer API</li>
<li>Open States API</li>
<li>Political Party Time API</li>

Learn more at <a href=""></a>.
@@ -0,0 +1,7 @@

Discover journalism you can trust with Churnalism, a Sunlight Foundation tool, that matches newspaper articles against a large corpus of press releases to determine if any text has been copied.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<a href="">Churnalism</a> searches the text you enter against a large corpus of press releases and determines the best match. Sometimes, exact fragments will match that are clearly not plagiarism. These often include expanded organizational names (such as The United States House of Representatives) or boilerplate copy about a particular company that is usually appended to the end of each press release. In order to filter out uninteresting matches and provide the best user experience, we use a relevancy ranking that is derived from the total character overlap, and the density of that overlap.
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<h1>Collaborative reporting tools</h1>

Recorded webinar from July 22, 2014 that explored Sunlight Foundation's collaborative reporting tools: Political Ad Sleuth and Political Party Time.

<a href="//">Youtube Video</a>

This webinar explored how you can contribute to and find great leads in the Sunlight Foundation's collaborative datasets that are unlocking information that has never before been centralized and made public. With Political Ad Sleuth, local volunteers and reporters are helping to analyze a national, online database of TV stations’ public ad files. By July 1, more than 2,000 stations in every TV market nationwide will be uploading files, creating a trove of important information about who is buying airtime for political ads, how much they are paying and what demographic they are targeting. Find out how to unlock them. Political Party Time chronicles the political fundraising circuit. From breakfasts, luncheons, barbecues, and golf outings, use Party Time to track who is fundraising, when and with whom. Find out how you can use this data for stories and help us add more.

This is part of Investigative News Network and Sunlight Foundation's Summer Webinar Series.
@@ -0,0 +1,17 @@
<h1>How to Follow the Money in your Congressional Race (webinar)</h1>

Recorded webinar from October 2, 2012 covering Sunlight's suite of tools for tracking congressional races including Influence Explorer, Party Time, Follow the Unlimited Money and other tools.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

As the 2012 election comes down to the wire, the Sunlight Foundation will introduce you to a suite of tools that no one covering congressional races should be without. We'll show you how to get the latest campaign finance totals, historical information on donors and their legislative interests, up-to-the-minute reports filed by super PACs and other outside groups--and how to get alerted via email or text message whenever the a candidate, super PAC or shadowy stealth committee files a new report with the Federal Election Commission.

This webinar will teach you to use:

<li><a href="">Influence Explorer</a> to track who is funding a campaign;</li>
<li><a href="">Party Time </a>to see invitations to fundraisers;</li>
<li><a href="">Follow the Unlimited Money</a> to get the latest on outside spending.</li>

This in-depth tutorial will teach you how to get the most out of these resources as you cover campaigns. This webinar will be a practical how-to, featuring examples from ongoing races.
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<h1>Data Visualizations in Google Docs</h1>

While Google is often used for internet searches and maps, it can also help with data visualizations via Google Charts. Learn how to use Google Docs to generate interactive charts in this training. <h3>Getting started</h3>

For this exercise, we're going to use a small dataset: the <a href="">2010 FBI uniform crime statistics for violent and property crimes by state</a>.

With that data, we're going to make several different Google Chart Tools, which can be saved as images or embedded as interactive graphics.

For the purposes of this lesson, we're assuming you're comfortable enough with spreadsheets to bring the data into Google Docs.

Once you have your data in Google Docs, you're ready to get started.

<h3>Charting made easy</h3>

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

With Google's Chart editor on the screen, you must select the appropriate chart for your dataset. Think carefully about what chart best explains the data you have.

For example, you might be tempted to use a pie chart to compare the number of crimes in each state. However, a pie chart with 50 slices would be difficult to read. And a pie chart with a subset of states would give distorted information.

In our example, we look at the total number of property and violent crimes in each state. We can use a stepped-area chart to show that breakdown on a state-by-state basis, and then customize it.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

Having a chart in your Google Doc is nice, but it's not especially helpful for publishing the chart with your story or blog post. That's where embedding comes in.

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>Non-adjacent columns</h3>

The example above uses data that are in adjacent columns, but sometimes we want to chart data in columns that are not adjacent.

For example, what if we want to look at crime rates on a state-by-state basis, rather than overall crime numbers? After all, you would expect more populous states to have more crime.

Here's how we'd do that:

<a href="">Youtube Video</a>

<h3>For more information</h3>

Google can create a wide variety of charts, from tree maps to bar graphs, from columns to candlesticks. You can learn more about them and see what works best for you at Google's <a href="">chart playground.</a>

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