● Of course, another way local news organizations could introduce their readers to this data is simply to link to it. OpenSecrets assembles comprehensive pages summarizing the campaign-finance data for every congressional race in the country. Many traditional news organizations still aren’t in the habit of using outbound links. But if local outlets covering these races don’t have the in-house resources to build campaign pages that compare to the ones the watchdog sites offer, they can—and should—prominently link to them.

Those are a few of my favorites, but these sites offer much, much more that could be of use to journalists at local news organizations—like OpenSecrets’ data on congressmembers’ personal finances, or Sunlight’s Party Time feature, which lists upcoming fundraisers for specific politicians. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in comments below.

Mary Winter has worked for seven newspapers, most recently the Denver Post, and was assistant managing editor at PoliticsDaily.com. She spent the bulk of her career at the Rocky Mountain News, first in features and later managing the legislative and state government teams. In 2008, she oversaw delegate coverage at the Democratic National Convention for the paper. She wrote a weekly column for the News for 10 years.