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With Sunlight and MySociety Grants, Google.org Signals Interest in Civic Technology

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 16 2013

Google.org announced today that it would be providing $3.7 million in funding to the Sunlight Foundation* and mySociety for their work on technological solutions for civic innovation.

The Sunlight Foundation is receiving $2.1 million to grow its open government data program with a focus on making civic information on U.S. cities transparent, available and useable.

mySociety is receiving $1.6 million to build a global platform that will provide developers with tools and resources, such as open source code, that will help them more easily launch new civic apps and services, Google said in its blog post. "This initiative can promote collaboration between civic-minded technologists, regardless of geography," Matthew Stepka, VP of Google.org writes. "For example, a civic app created in Finland might be easily replicated 9,000 miles away by a developer in Chile."

"While we funded Code for America in the past, these grants definitely point to a greater commitment to the civic technology space on the part of Google.org--we think it's an area ripe for innovation," Kelly Mason, a spokesperson for Google.org, added in an e-mail to techPresident.

TechPresident publisher Andrew Rasiej and editorial director Micah Sifry are senior advisers to the Sunlight Foundation.

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New Media Sites in Iran Blur Lines Between Citizen Journo, Professional Journo, & Activist

In 2010, Newsweek declared Iran the “birthplace of citizen journalism.” Iranian bloggers were hailed by Westerners as “brave” for their coverage of the aftermath of the disputed 2009 election. A 40-second video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan during an anti-government protest won a prestigious George Polk Award, the first anonymously-produced work to be so honored. And then came the 2013 study “Whither Blogestan,” which sought to explain Iran's shrinking blogosphere. Of nearly 25,000 highly active and connected blogs in 2008 and 2009, only 20 percent were still online in September 2013.

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