Novel analytic tool improves data journalism

Fraunhofer Institute Develops Data Analyses Software for the Tagesspiegel’s “Politician-Check”

Press release / September 01, 2017

Together with the Tagesspiegel editors in Berlin, the Fraunhofer IMW’s Competitive Intelligence unit has conceptualized and developed the software “Check Your Government” (CYGAR). This software forms the basis for the portal “Politician-Check”, released by the Tagesspiegel today at with a view to the Bundestag elections. With the help of the Tagesspiegel editors, the research team examines the available weekly data on special interest groups and their interaction with politicians in the Bundestag committees. For each member of the Bundestag, the “Politician-Check” analyzes thematic content, links to lobbyists and notices of political work appearing in the media and on social networks.

The Leipzig researchers developed the data analysis software for the “Politician Check”  through innovation workshops and in continuous feedback loops with the editorial team of the Tagesspiegel. The end product was a system that precisely complements the work of the journalists. “It was great to develop a challenging and versatle tool for political reporting in the Check Your Government project, working with engaged and creative colleagues from both worlds. On the basis of CYGAR, the Tagesspiegel editors are able to research and visualize interesting stories, especially in the year of the Bundestag election,” said Ingrid Müller, Tagesspiegel editor-in-chief and editorial board member. The software analyzes the interaction between politicians and special interest groups, for example, which stakeholders or lobbyists have been involved in which committees and which bills have been worked on by which representatives.

The question of which journalistic research approaches result in greater transparency during the legislative process was a guiding theme for the development of “Check Your Government”. “Novel data analysis tools and agile software development are very helpful for this purpose”, says JProf. Dr. Lutz Maicher, who heads the Fraunhofer IMW project with his research team from the institute’s  Competitive Intelligence unit. 

Further information is available at

The data journalism project is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung.


Fraunhofer IMW
Neumarkt 9-19, 04109 Leipzig

Competitive Intelligence
JProf. Dr. Lutz Maicher
Phone +49 341 231039-127                       

Dirk Böttner-Langolf               
Phone +49 341 231039-250        

The Fraunhofer IMW can look back over ten years of applied socio-economic research and experience at the Leipzig location. Some 170 researchers from 20 countries help clients and partners from the business, industrial, political and science communities in addition to public institutions, to benefit from the innovation drivers globalization and digitalization. The institute's international projects, network activities and analyses focus on how people can benefit from socio-economic and applied research, as well as from the dynamics of a knowledge-based society and the future of industrial production. The interdisciplinary team of researchers provides businesses, organizations, institutions, countries, local communities and regions with sound technical support during strategic decision-making processes. Initially founded as the Center for Central and Eastern Europe (MOEZ) in 2006, the strategic realignment and new foci of the institute, which has been certified to the DIN EN ISO 9001:2008 DNV-GL standard, are expressed in the new name chosen in 2016, the Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMW. The institute's expertise focuses on innovation research, knowledge and technology transfer and corporate development in an international competitive environment.