About ElectUp

Hi, I’m David Purdy, and I built ElectUp after working in a small newsroom for half a dozen years and helping other organizations with their digital presence.

It started while I was working in the newsroom of a small NPR station in Alaska. We took local election coverage seriously. In addition to our regular election reporting, we saw a need for voters to quickly make informed decisions at the ballot box, regardless of their news habits, awareness, and situation.

An aerial view of downtown Juneau, Alaska nestled at the base of snowy mountains
I originally wrote an election guide system in Juneau, Alaska.

Decision-making for busy audiences

In 2016, our newsroom stepped up our yearly election guide. We knew much of our audience was busy, and most were not “news nerds” following every election story. Rather than expect them to comb through past stories when it came time to vote, we broke up our candidate profiles into the most pertinent local issues, and compiled them both by candidate (“where does this person stand on the issues?”) and by issue (“what are the difference candidate perspectives about each particular issue?”).

The audience loved it, but we built all the pages by hand — and it was tremendous amount of work at the busiest time of the year.

Freeing up staff time

I hate seeing journalists and editors do work computers are good at. So the next year I wrote a basic WordPress plugin to take all the candidates’ answers and display them as both candidate profiles and issue comparison pages.

The first version was rough around the edges and still took a lot of manual work, but it saved a lot of time and the guide worked and looked better.

Refining and developing

Over the next several elections, we honed the tools and the process. Every year we automated a little more, improved the organization and layout, and learned how to compile the best election guides possible with limited resources.

After a while, other local news organizations started asking about the tool we used for the election guides, but it was pretty tightly integrated into our site and it would have been a big project to separate it out for other organizations to use.

Soon after I left Alaska to be closer to family and started doing more consulting, a few more organizations from farther away heard about it and I got some calls. We decided to invest the time into rebuilding the election guide as a full standalone platform to create election guides that could be embedded on any web site.

If you have questions or think it might be a good fit for your organization, I hope you’ll get in touch at hello@electup.com.

David Purdy
Developer and founder

“I worked with David and the ElectUp platform from its very inception in 2016 and in the best of all possible journalist-developer relationships, we iterated and refined it in every election cycle. The result is a solution that no local newsroom should go without. The election guides that end up in the audience’s hands at election time are the visual culmination of a careful editorial process that really does anticipate a community’s every need. This is an accessible technology full of integrity and heart.”

Jennifer Pemberton
Former VP of News & Managing Editor