UNC project wins $50,000 award to improve transparency at General Assembly

The Capitol Hound project of UNC's Reese News Lab won a $50,000 award. Capitol Hound creates keyword searchable transcripts and email alerts of General Assembly hearings. With the grant, the service will be given to news outlets across the state free of charge to improve statehouse coverage. 

A transparency project originally conceived by students in the UNC School of Media and Journalism’s Reese News Lab was awarded a $50,000 award to improve transparency in the N.C. General Assembly. 

Capitol Hound started as a student project in the Reese News Lab to help the public understand what is happening in the state legislature. The students created a keyword searchable transcript and email alert service by using audio recordings of General Assembly hearings. Subscribers can set specific topic or keyword alerts to keep track of subjects that they are interested in. 

The students ran a pilot test of the Capitol Hound service during the General Assembly’s 2014 short session. 

The $50,000 C. Felix Harvey Award will allow Capitol Hound to provide its service to all news organizations across the state for free during the General Assembly’s 2015 long session. The goal of providing the service free to news outlets is to make it easier for reporters to cover the General Assembly so that the public can benefit from increased coverage. 

Read an article about Capitol Hound from WRAL here