"Bringing Down the House will feature Martin as US campaigner Heather Brooke, who battled to force MPs to reveal details of their expenses."
Rupert Murdoch's response to a critical question from Telegraph reporter: "You can sneer at it from the Telegraph but I’m sure your great scoop, the about parliamentary expenses, people would be very happy to have been paying for that on a website.” Hmm.
"Speaking publicly for the first time since the saga began, [Will Lewis] said suggestions his paper's actions had undermined Parliament and democracy were 'complete rubbish'."
John Naughton: "[Why] should we have to exercise arcane technical skills in order to get at public data? As one US expert put it, "converting PDF to XML [ie web format] is a bit like converting hamburgers back into cows". We'd like the cows, please. After all, we paid for their upkeep. Why can't all official numerical data be published in internet-friendly formats? That's what the Obama administration is now doing. And it's what the UK government would be doing if Gordon Brown's commitment to "transparency" was anything other than an expedient gimmick. This isn't just a matter for techies; it's about the health of our democracy in a networked age."
Tim Rowell: "From day one, it was agreed that we would work towards the publication of an online database that contained not only the files themselves but also an aggregation of publicly available data (Parliament Parser, They Work for You, Register of Members Interests etc.) with our own unique data analysis."
"With EC2, the Guardian could order server time as needed, rapidly scaling it up for the launch date and down again afterward. Thanks to EC2, [Simon Willison] guessed the Guardian’s full out-of-pocket cost for the whole project will be around £50."
The Telegraph's MPs' expenses database.
"All you have to do is scour the 20,000-odd pages of MPs' expense claims on the Guardian website, and pick the one example that for you best encapsulates the sheer bloody skull-numbing crassness of this whole episode, surely among the most thrilling in our great parliament's history. The winner will be chosen by an independent judge, whose details will be available on request. They will be looking for the most absurd, shocking or shameful claim you can find."
Peter Preston: "Without that formidable, meticulous investigation, no flipping revelations would have blotted honourable members' copybooks. So the Telegraph didn't merely hurry along due disclosure; it was the absolute, indispensable source."
"Locked in the bunker, [Robert] Winnett devised a system for going through the data methodically. First he sliced it up and distributed it between the six journalists, giving himself the Cabinet, somebody else the shadow Cabinet, somebody else Tory grandees and so on. The real work – checking expense claim addresses against the Land Registry, began a couple of days later. This information led the Telegraph team to discover some MPs' habit of "flipping" properties, designating a second home on which expenses could legitimately be claimed then switching to another. Checking electoral rolls and Companies House also revealed that some MPs had been switching second home designations to avoid capital gains tax. A source close to the operation describes the scene as 'like the ops room in The Wire. They would pin pictures of their targets on the wall then cross them out in red as they resigned.'"
"Developed in just five working days and with a last-minute rush when Parliament used unusual formatting, the Guardian's microsite for analysing MPs' use of your money is ready"
"I've noticed that where the local press has scored is by comparing the often widely different claims from MPs in adjacent constituencies. For an example, coverage by the County Times in mid-Wales."
"as British politicians come under widening scorn for spending public money on everything from candy bars to moat-dredging, an examination of U.S. lawmakers' expense claims shows Washington's elected officials have also used public funds for eye-catching purchases."
James Goffin: "This story wasn't broken by an online news site written by some lone gunman sitting at home, but by a team of 25 professional journalists pouring over the documents who pieced together the story from thousands of bald facts. Flicking through the expenses documents casually - and I've done it with some, albeit in their House of Commons approved censored form - doesn't reveal the stories. It needs Land Registry searches, checking against public statements, knowledge of tax policy, all coupled with an over-riding sense of what makes a good story."