Represent, a beta product from nytimes.com, provides detailed information on New York City’s elected representatives, from the city Council to the Senate, similar to what TheyWorkForYou.com has been doing for a while now.
Nice touches Represent provides include:
- links through to Times Topics profiles of selected representatives
- static Google Maps images with overlays of city council, state assembly, state senate and congressional district borders
- a daily diary of voting activity with links through to nytimes.com’s nifty Flash overview of how each House voted, with state, senator and map views
- links through to any nytimes.com content featuring any of your elected representatives, such as OP-EDs and news articles
This site is a powerful combination of public data and nytimes.com’s own content, and I imagine it will soon expand to include all representatives on a national basis. Yesterday Jeff Jarvis argued that,
“national papers – especially the Post but also the NY Times… – could become the Washington bureau to the nation’s papers, saving them all money, giving them all the flexibility to redirect staff (reporters and editors) to local coverage, and giving their readers the best coverage.”
This move certainly puts them in a strong position to do that, but in a way it also bypasses what Jarvis calls ‘reverse syndication’ and provides the information to anyone who wants it. I couldn’t find an RSS feed for it or any API, but I’m sure that will follow.
Represent was created by Andrei Scheinkman, an interactive developer for nytimes.com, and Derek Willis, a member of its web development group. Derek Willis has written an interesting blogpost on Represent and GeoDjango — ‘…the part of Django that makes spatial work easy enough that even I can manage it’. He also gives some informaton on how Represent came to be. It was the result of,
“…[a New York Times] internal technology challenge. We ended up being a finalist with our entry, which became the app you see today, thanks to design work by Stephan Weitberg and advice from a lot of folks. Since Andrei and I both liked Python, and the contest asked for a working prototype, we built Represent using GeoDjango…”
UPDATE : Represent now has RSS feeds available.