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The Guardian’s Pledge Tracker

With daily promises being doled out by elected or trying-to-be-elected officials, have you ever pondered how many of them keep their word?  When Britain’s newly elected Coalition Government released a declaration itemizing all promises they had agreed to; local journalists seized the opportunity to seek accountability for lawmaker’s actions.  What resulted is Pledge Tracker, a tool for keeping tabs on promises kept and unkept and most importantly, those that would have otherwise been forgotten.   

Pledge Tracker was developed and is now maintained by The Guardian.  The real-time database allows users to sort the over 400 pledges by various metrics including policy area, difficultly level and of course, current status.  In spending thirty seconds with the tool, it’s easy to discover that already 44 pledges have been kept, 5 have been blatantly broken, and 3 are reportedly ‘broken in spirit’.   

The Pledge Tracker interface is incredibly user-friendly, and the data contained within does a flawless job of merging subjective and objective data for analysis.  Sources for each pledge are clearly cited.  Since the lines may blur between pledges ‘in progress’, ‘in trouble’ or ‘not kept’, the current status denoted for each pledge is further explained in the context section.  According to The Guardian, the context area allows them “some room to explain what this all means”.  Links to external information are also provided in this area, for those who would like to learn more.   

Adding to the entire operation’s transparency, Pledge Tracker doesn’t operate in isolation.  They fully encourage users to email them about any pledges contained within their database.  Pledge Tracker also consults colleagues in the journalism field, proven experts in their given specialties, to gain a more well-rounded view of all pledges and issues involved.  Their encompassing data-gathering and sourcing protocol affords users a sense of security that the information found on Pledge Tracker is reliable, accurate, and improving accountability at a grand scale.   

To see Pledge Tracker in action, visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/interactive/2010/aug/12/coalition-pledge-tracker


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