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Rebooting How the NY State Senate Gets News

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 2 2009

The Albany Times Union has an intriguing little story that might serve as an a-ha moment about the ability of pixels to transform government. For more than three decades, a little known office has worked away inside New York State government, clipping news stories with X-acto knives, photocopying the clippings and delivering the resulting "Digest of Newspaper Clippings" to (mostly Republican) members of the state legislature. The office, reports the Times Union, moved some 15,000 sheets of paper a day. The clipping service budget? Just under $2 million per annum. Well, things are about to change. Forty people within the Senate Research Service have been let go. How will elected officials and their staffs get their daily dose of news? Through the Internet, my friends, through the Internet:

As for press clippings, [Senate Democrats' spokesperson Travis] Proulx said the Democrats' newly-hired Chief Information Officer Andrew Hoppin will oversee an electronic version of the service, in which a small crew will compile stories from newspapers Web sites as well as blogs and e-mail them to Senate members, both Republican and Democrat.