For Immediate Release: 8/16/16
The Boston University College of Communication announced today the launch of INVOLVD, a smartphone app available in the Apple and Android stores with the message that “Democracy is not a spectator sport. Get INVOLVD!”
INVOLVD enables users to explore rigorously produced news reports — presented in three, user-friendly formats — analyzing the presidential candidates’ publicly stated ideas for tackling the nation’s problems. The app users can evaluate those ideas, vote on their viability, share their vote with the candidates and offer solutions of their own.
“The goal was to allow users to determine for themselves if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were offering real solutions to real problems, or whether their statements were little more than soundbites,” said Thomas Fiedler, the dean of BU’s College of Communication and a veteran political journalist.
“INVOLVD is designed to enable users to post their own solutions and forward them to the candidate of their choice through their social-media community using Twitter and Facebook,” Fiedler said. The user-generated solutions that earn top-level support from other users will also be analyzed by INVOLVD’s journalists and posted on the site.
The site analyzes the viability of the solutions offered by the candidates on six issues: climate change; mass shooting; immigration; student debt; veterans’ treatment, and confronting the threat from ISIS. Other issues will be added and analyzed as the campaigns develop them through Election Day.
The College of Communication created up to four different ways for a user to learn about each position taken by each candidate. Brief, though carefully researched, reports provide users with the essential facts about a proposed Clinton or Trump solution to an issue. These reports are produced in the style of a television news item and delivered by veteran broadcast anchors R.D. Sahl and Camilla Carr.
Extra Report news videos, produced in the style of an informal YouTube report, give the user additional information about each candidate’s proposed solution. BU journalism graduate students Sanaz Tahernia and Torrance Latham are the Extra Report correspondents.
For the user who seeks more and in-depth information before voting on a proposed solution’s viability, the site offers a compilation of written analyses from subject experts edited by The Conversation, a collaboration between editors and academics providing informed news analysis.
Unlike other news apps INVOLVD gives the user the opportunity to use social media to share their votes and ideas directly with the Clinton and Trump campaigns, as well as with their own social-media community.
“Our goal in creating the INVOLVD app is to offer a solution-journalism alternative to ‘horse-race’ and cable-news shouting matches that dominate the news media,” said Dean Fiedler. “We believe a well-informed citizenry remains the best way to create a healthy involvement in our democracy.”
Boston University and the College of Communication are committed to providing valuable, unbiased and credible news information to users who come to the INVOLVD site seeking it.
The Chicago based Reva and David Logan Foundation provided the funds to conceive, test and pilot INVOLVD.