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We Didn't Start the Fire: Using Social Media to Catch LA's Arsonist

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 3 2012

The Los Angeles Times reports on how the city's police and fire departments overcame their distrust of social media to tap into the real-time public conversation about the rash of car-burnings of the last four days. “This investigation is social media phenomenon," Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the paper. “Early, in terms of the public information office, the PIOs noticed that a lot of the best information was coming from and being distributed by social media. We wanted to speak to the public where the public is, and that is social media.” Using a common Twitter handle (@arsonwatchla) and Facebook page also helped. Read More

White House Applauds Technological 'Champions of Change'

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 3 2011

In Virginia, residents can go online to watch hundreds of hours of footage of floor speeches from the state legislature. A tool to analyze data on asthma attacks is expanding use, providing medical information that could ... Read More

Advocate to Lawmakers: Using the Internet, Making Better Maps, Is 'Kind Of What We're Paying You For'

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Bay County American Civil Liberties Union President Bill Pritchard, speaking at a redistricting hearing in Bay County, Fla., that had maps of the current districts but no proposed districts as they would be for the next ... Read More

Citizen Science and Transparency Projects Among Knight News Challenge Winners Announced Today

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

Today, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation* announced the winners of the fifth and final year of the Knight News Challenge, explaining how it will allocate this year's nearly $5 million pool of money to support ... Read More

With 'Macon Money,' Knight Foundation Hopes a Hyperlocal Project Will Go Global

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 21 2011

After connecting hundreds of people and generating nearly $65,000 in business for local shops and restaurants in Macon, Ga., an online-offline game that uses alternative currency to spur civic engagement may be going ... Read More

'Macon Money,' A Project to Connect Neighbors Online, Offline, and With Cash

BY Becky Kazansky | Tuesday, June 21 2011

Currencies aren't necessary known for bringing communities together, but in the case of a game called Macon Money, that was exactly the point: Game creators Area/Code, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight ... Read More

Meet Commons, the Mobile, Social Gamification of 311

BY Becky Kazansky | Tuesday, June 21 2011

New Yorkers have a new way to identify problems and solutions in their city with the launch of Commons, a mobile, social game which aims to make 311 an easy and social experience through a platform for citizens to ... Read More

At PdF11, Vivek Kundra Reiterates Open Government Cost Savings, Importance of the Cloud

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 7 2011

The federal government should continue its move to cloud computing and hosting services, for cost savings and to avoid a reliance on outdated infrastructure, U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra said earlier this ... Read More

On 'Cities as Software'

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 23 2011

Marcus Westbury, the festival organizer who led an effort to reinvigorate the downtown in his native Newcastle, Australia, by filling it with small businesses, art installations and temporary uses, shares an article he ... Read More

The Growth of Hometown Hacking

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 23 2011

Inspired by soon-to-be-expatriate Chicagoan Christopher Groskopf, Virginia web designer S.D. Salyer now says he'll do for his native Washington County, Va., what Groskopf has begun to do for Tyler, Tex.: Following in ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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