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First POST: Top-Down Movements

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 22 2013

Behind closed doors, a solution on transparency

  • Obama sent a decisive message on his commitment to transparency, Politico reported today.

    Following outcry from the White House Correspondents Association about a lack of access to the president during his recent vacation, and after an extensive cri-de-coeur from Politico itself about President Barack Obama's low-touch media strategy, the president swiftly responded to his critics.

    He held a private meeting with reporters from major print and television outlets — off the record.

    The web publication's pouty kicker: "POLITICO was not invited to the meeting, though it has been invited to similar off-the-record meetings in the past."

  • The Project on Government Oversight comments, in a post on the administration's sluggish response to Freedom of Information Act requests:

    The federal government has a FOIA problem: there is far too much secrecy. Many agencies have failed to fulfill the Obama Administration’s mandate to adopt a “presumption of openness.” There has been no grand shift toward a culture of releasing information proactively—before a FOIA request is made. The system remains broken, and backlogs continue to grow.

"Leaning" on Sheryl Sandberg

  • The New York Times offers a critical look at Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's plan to create a "social movement" around women in the workplace:

    “I always thought I would run a social movement,” Ms. Sandberg, 43, said in an interview for “Makers,” a new documentary on feminist history.

    And yet no one knows whether women will show up for Ms. Sandberg’s revolution, a top-down affair propelled by a fortune worth hundreds of millions on paper, or whether the social media executive can form a women’s network of her own. Only a single test “Lean In Circle” exists. With less than three weeks until launch — which will include a spread in Time magazine and splashy events like a book party at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s home — organizers cannot say how many more groups may sprout up.

What's next for Obama's technology experts?

  • Startups, vacations, and, for some, more time in public service:

    With the campaign behind them, Obama for America Technology alumni are scattered across the country — some still in Chicago, some making a new start in a new city, others still taking time off for travel. In interviews, some of these coders, designers, and product managers said that the campaign was a political break in a career otherwise spent in the tech sector. Others told me their time working for Obama has convinced them to focus on civic life. All of them expressed a connection to their campaign colleagues and to OfA's test-everything, data-driven organizing ethos that, they say, is likely to inform everything they do next.

Around the web

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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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