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SeeClickFix

November 23, 2011 in Community, Experiments, Resources, Technology

SeeClickFix is a free mobile phone and web tool that allows citizens to report and document non-emergency issues to communicate them to those accountable for the public space. Issues that are reported through the website are recorded on a map for everyone to see and interact with. Anyone can receive email alerts on the issues based on a filter by geographical area and keyword…We believe in the power of technology to promote:

  • Transparency – Governments and most organizations work best when they conduct their business in plain view. We’ll do our best to do the same.
  • Collaboration – Four brains are better than one. And millions of brains are better than three. Our goal is to give everyone else the tools to accomplish what we never could ourselves. Open source software and wikis are good models for us.
  • Scale – We could have created a site that focused on our home town. Using the internet and all the tools others have created, we want to reach as many people as possible around the globe. Massive scale, please.
  • Efficiency – Although paper has its place, there is a lot more room for the web and the mobile phone. Rather than re-invent the wheel, our site is built on open source software and Google maps.” Source: SeeClickFix

“Local governments and media outlets across the country are using SeeClickFix to stay up-to-date on the issues that have the most immediate impact on the health of our communities.

Publicly documented SeeClickFix issues quickly become the seeds for news stories, investigative reports, and citizen advocacy pieces. Our platform gives you a window into the public debate and organizes the issues in a way that makes it easy to discern which are most pressing and likely to generate immediate attention.

SeeClickFix has media partnerships with hundreds of media outlets around the country. Besides helping to source local stories, our Text and Map Widgets help to enhance the user experience on your website. Our widgets display the most important issues that have been reported in your area and allow users to report issues of their own right on your site. Generating a widget takes only a few clicks, and will help make your site more interactive and more relevant to the day-to-day concerns of your readership.

Our partnerships with media outlets are mutually beneficial. We drive traffic to local news sites, while our community of users grows and develops in new locations. These collaborations create new space for public dialogue, connect civically engaged members of the community, and help citizens hold local governments accountable.” SourceSeeClickFix

Investigative News Network

November 16, 2011 in Community, Craft, Policy, Resources

The Investigative News Network is a collaborative organization made up of [60] nonprofit investigative journalism outlets.

The network was founded by 25 nonprofit news organizations at a summer 2009 conference organized by The Center for Public Integrity and The Center for Investigative Reporting. Those two organizations, along with the Investigative Reporting Workshop and ProPublica, had previously initiated a six-month collaborative pilot project, though ProPublica is not a member of the group.

The group was formed as a way for nonprofit investigative outlets to collaborate on anything from reporting to administration to fundraising. In February 2010, it released its first collaborative report, on sexual assaults on college campuses.” Source: Nieman Journalism Lab

  • “The Investigative News Network (INN) is dedicated to helping our member non-profit news organizations produce and distribute stories with the highest impact possible, and to become sustainable nonprofit organizations.
  • We are a consortium of high quality, award-winning watchdog journalistic organizations serving the public interest to benefit our free society.
  • We aim to provide premier support for our members, by incubating and fostering new non-profit newsrooms, providing opportunities for editorial collaboration and creating distribution channels to reach the widest audience possible.
  • To qualify for the extensive benefits and services of INN, our members are not-for-profit news organizations that are transparent in their funding and non-partisan in their approach to investigative and public service reporting.” Source: Investigative News Network

The Nonprofit Journalism Hub

November 11, 2011 in Community, Craft, Education, Resources

The Nonprofit Journalism Hub is intended to bring together a myriad of resources to help communities create their own successful nonprofit news organizations. We are most interested in helping local investigative and public service journalism thrive in the new media landscape.

The Hub’s concept and design were created by voiceofsandiego.org in 2010. The Hub’s original creation was made possible by a generous grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and a collaboration of multiple partners.

In June 2011, The Hub website was acquired by the Investigative News Network. Under this new acquisition, INN will be expanding the content of the Hub website with more resources, tools and information for both established and start-up nonprofit newsrooms alike.

Website manager and contributor Professor Amy Schmitz Weiss will continue her work with The Hub as the lead contributor and coordinator under INN’s new management.

The Hub was not meant to be stagnant. It is intended to be a lively forum for discussion and information. We depend on the entire virtual community to add to its content. Please share your stories, your challenges, and what’s working for you. We all learn from each other.” Source: The Hub

OpenSecrets.org

October 17, 2011 in Craft, Policy, Resources

OpenSecrets.org is the nation’s premier website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.

The Center for Responsive Politics launched the website following the 1996 elections. Before that time, the Center, founded in 1983 by U.S. Sens. Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Hugh Scott (R-Pa.), published its work tracking money in politics and its effect on elections and public policy in extensive reports and books. The first Open Secrets book, published in 1990, was a massive 1,300 pages and analyzed contributions by political action committees in the 1988 congressional elections. Featuring contributor profiles for every member of Congress, it was an unprecedented resource that illuminated money’s role in congressional elections and policymaking. Open Secrets also profiled the spending patterns of interest groups and major industries, and included an extensive “Big Picture” section on the patterns of PAC spending and the flow of PAC dollars to each congressional committee. The second edition of Open Secrets, published in 1992, added an analysis of large individual donations — a mammoth task that had never before been attempted.

The OpenSecrets.org website not only allowed the Center to expand its reach beyond those willing to invest in its voluminous and expensive publication, but also greatly accelerated the timing and depth of its analysis, making the Center’s research more readily available to those making decisions about candidates, policy and the influence of money. For the 1998 elections, the Center produced online contribution profiles for every federal candidate well before Election Day. For the 2000 elections, the Center unveiled several new groundbreaking features on OpenSecrets.org, including detailed contribution profiles of more than 100 industries and special interest areas, fund-raising breakdowns for federal party committees and analyses of contributions from special interests to members of specific congressional committees.

Today, the Center has expanded the information it analyzes beyond just the Federal Election Commission’s offerings on campaign finance. OpenSecrets.org has become a clearinghouse for data and analysis on multiple aspects of money in politics — the independent interest groups flooding politics with outside spendingfederal lobbying, Washington’s “revolving door”federal earmarks and the personal finances of members of Congress, the president and other officials.” Source: Opensecrets.org

National Freedom of Information Coalition

October 12, 2011 in Community, Craft, Policy, Resources

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) is a nonpartisan network of state and regional open government groups and advocates headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri. The organization’s ongoing work is supported, primarily, by a $2 million, three-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. NFOIC’s core work and mission includes public education and advocacy to foster government transparency, especially at the state and local levels. Key components of that work are grant making, convening and other services that help to strengthen and support affiliated state and regional groups. Another signature initiative, since the beginning of its current sustaining grant, is the administration of a legal fund to fuel and assist the pursuit of important FOI and access cases.

The NFOIC serves as the cornerstone of the movement to protect the public’s “right to know” through access to governmental records and meetings, particularly at the state and local levels. It also seeks to be an effective voice and champion for greater government transparency at all levels by educating about and defending against constant legislative and judicial threats that would erode hard-won rights of access and allow more governmental secrecy.” Source: Ken Bunting, Executive Director, NFOIC

 

Partners of Necessity: The Case for Collaboration in Local Investigative Reporting

August 29, 2011 in Craft, Experiments, Resources, Revenue

Media organizations may be able to perform their watchdog roles more effectively working together than apart. That is one conclusion in a new paper, “Partners of Necessity: The Case for Collaboration in Local Investigative Reporting,” authored by Sandy Rowe, former editor of Portland’s The Oregonian. The paper is based on interviews and research that Rowe conducted while serving as a Knight Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

Rowe’s research examines the theory underpinning collaborative work and shows emerging models of collaboration that can lead to more robust investigative and accountability reporting in local and regional markets.” SourceThe Harvard Kennedy School