Podium app provides easy access to congressmen

Posted at 2:36 PM, Jan 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-21 13:35:50-04

It’s now possible to share political views and connect with congressmen through a smartphone app.

The app, called Podium, is free and allows users to keep tabs on what’s going on in Washington D.C.

The app resolves many issues that constituents face when seeking to connect with their elected leaders, by leveraging the power of social media, email and one-click calling to share opinions with elected officials and to garner support across social media networks including Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to being a user-friendly communication platform, the app provides a place to stay informed on the latest news surrounding what’s going on in Washington.

Click here to stay on top of important national issues and connect with Podium

One of Podium’s creators, Bo Schuerman, answered some questions about the app.

How did the idea for Podium come about?

We’ve heard from many people in our communities that they are frustrated with what their politicians are doing in Washington and want to better understand and influence the bills that are going to be voted upon.

In addition, Scripps has a long history of providing excellent coverage around politics and we wanted to continue this tradition and provide a quick and easy way to help our users stay informed.

How is this different from contacting a congressman via their website?

Podium is much broader than a communication tool. The goal of Podium is to help people understand what their politicians are doing in Washington. That could be the upcoming bills they are voting on, upcoming hearings they will be attending, and breaking news related to their congressmen and women.

In addition, we wanted to make it easy to share your opinion. Through Podium, reach out to your politician and express your view.

Am I able to engage on the app and not have it show up on social media? What if I want to voice my opinion to my congressman, but not tell my friends my political views?

Of course. Sharing is only one part of the app and we’ve made it very clear and easy to choose if you want to share on social media.  We will never share without your approval.

Outside of social media, the app provides ways to communicate directly with your congressman including phone and email. 

Can congressmen create profiles, update constituents and communicate via Podium?

No, right now we are focused on the user side and trying to help people stay informed and we wanted to ensure the information is unbiased. In future updates, we may look for ways to provide tools for the politicians to communicate directly.

Where does the information on Podium come from?

Podium brings in data from multiple sources. One of the main sources is the Sunlight Foundation, a 501 nonpartisan nonprofit organization with a goal of increasing transparency and accountability in the United States Congress, the executive branch, and in state and local governments. 

Additionally, we bring in news sources from across the web that are related to your politicians.

Wait, you’re a news company. Is there a media bias here?

No media bias. We source data from official document records and nonpartisan organizations. Our goal is to help educate and inform by providing unbiased information so that our users can make their own informed decisions.

Podium is available in the Apple store. Updates to the app in months ahead will provide users with even more access, including notifications of when bills are introduced for specific topics, email login and the ability to “follow” specific topics. Also coming soon: integration of the DecodeDC blog.