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An Open Government Law for Pennsylvania

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 1 2011

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed a law that puts government payments to contractors and employees' compensation on a searchable state webiste, the Pittsburge Tribune-Review reports:

Angela Zaydon, director of legal and public policy for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, said the legislation "isn't the end-all be-all" of public record disclosure. "But it is one-stop shopping for citizens who have general questions about state government," she said.

The website will phase in through 2014. The first phase will include names of vendors and amounts they've been paid. By 2013, compensation and salary information for employees will be available.

By 2014, program descriptions and performance data would be included for payments.

Of note: The Tribune reports that this law will cover all three branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial. It will also be worth watching to see if the website, which will be called PennWATCH, is machine-accessible as well as searchable; the legislation does not specify what format the information should be released in.

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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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