Giving it away p. 44

By: Editorial Staff PROJECT VOTE SMART'S business is giving away political information to reporters and citizens alike ? no spin, no fees, no strings.
Twice a year, the Corvallis, Ore.-based, non-profit, non-partisan organization publishes the Reporter's Source Book. The first part provides brief, factual synopses of political issues such as health care, the economy, crime and industrial policy. The second part lists sources such as think tanks, trade associations and interest groups.
The latest edition is off the presses, said Lorena O'Leary, director of Project Vote Smart's Reporter's Research Center. The group prints 10,000 copies twice a year, O'Leary said. Reporters can call (503) 373-4000 to request copies.
Also provided is a political research service. Reporters who need to know the status of a bill in Congress, how their representatives in Washington voted on a bill, or the vote count in their state from the last presidential election can call the Center at (503) 373-4000, where interns from Oregon State University will search databases of political statistics.
The project is an effort of the Center for National Independence in Politics, a group lead by well-known politics of all stripes.
The five-year-old organization, supported by grants from the Carnegie, Markle and other foundations, is devoted to educating citizens about politics. It has a staff of 12 but increases staffing as election time rolls around.
The organization also polls gubernatorial candidates about their positions on issues and makes the surveys available to reporters.
It publishes a quarterly newsletter for journalists called Tomorrow's News, which includes phone numbers of news sources, updates on legislation and a calendar of meetings.
For individual citizens, the organization operates a voter's research line at (800) 622-SMART. The line got over 200,000 calls in 1992.
See related "Shop Talk at Thirty" on page 56
Buckman teaches journalism at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, where he is SPJ faculty adviser.
The panel covered in this article took place before a new round of allegations involving President Clinton. The Washington Post on May 4 published allegations by a former Arkansas state worker that Clinton made sexual advances toward her in a hotel room in 1991, and she has filed a sexual-harassment suit against the president.
Clinton has denied her allegations and said he will defend himself in court.


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