Public Eye Northwest, June 21, 2012
Ferret bites into Knight News Challenge: Data
We've just sent in our proposal for Round 2, 2012 of the Knight News Challenge, seeking $750K for three years, to run our operation in WA, and expand into OR and ID. Review our application and please consider adding a supportive comment.
State will probe possible vehicle mileage tax
Stories often lurk in contracting documents. Consider transportation. In Washington, emerging technology could be used to track every mile you drive, with sliding scale charges tied to real-time congestion on the roads you use. Is this warranted, and feasible? State consultants will soon begin a high-impact assessment. More here. Also see our contracting stories compendium; one of many topic and place archives we use at our news knowledge base Public Data Ferret to add context. Our carefully-selected stories translate into Plain English important news hiding in government documents and data. Public Data Ferret is a program of the 501c3 non-profit, Public Eye Northwest.
We're delving into data visualization
Our data visualization initiative at Public Data Ferret is ramping up - here's the archive. Volunteer Dr. Nathan Brown has joined our team and using Tableau software has produced an interactive asset map of public art in Seattle. More to come soon from Dr. Nate. One of our news-writing interns, University of Washington student Henry Apfel, has also been adding data viz work to his articles on topics such as geothermal energy exploration in Washington state, U.S. energy pipeline safety, and capital punishment by state. We're also finding some excellent data visualizations to share from government agencies, on topics such as U.S. energy sources and uses.
Data viz and video storytellers, feed the Ferret
If you or someone you know can create with data visualization tools - such as Google Fusion Tables, Google Public Data Explorer, Tableau, or others - and would like to volunteer, please email Matt Rosenberg, Public Eye Northwest's Executive Director. We'd also like to connect with volunteers interested in doing video storytelling related to local, regional and state public policy topics that grab you.
Looking for Fall 2012 news-writing interns
We're also accepting applications for Fall 2012 unpaid news-writing interns: email Matt with links straight to news writing samples published online, plus a brief cover letter and resume - all in the body of the email. We can cooperate with teachers to make the work for-credit. We've had nine interns so far. This summer, we're being ably assisted not only by Henry Apfel, but also by news-writing interns William McKee of Washington State University, and Zachariah Bryan, a recent grad of Seattle Pacific University. As always, a big thank you to our volunteer Communications Manager Leif Hansen, who makes these newsletters possible.
New WSU report urges creation and training of citizen journalism networks across WA
In April we served with colleagues from media, business, government and academia on a roundtable convened by the Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University on rural broadband and news penetration. It was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation and examined key concerns raised in 2010 by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. A new report was just issued by the Murrow College based on the roundtable. It warns, "more and more citizens are relying on a smaller and smaller press corps at legacy media outlets and increasingly vast sectors of the state have no journalistic boots on the ground." The report laid out key elements of plan to address this challenge, including alliances between daily newspapers and citizens news blogger consortiums, modeled after the Seattle Times News Partner Network. More here.
Thanks to our donors; please join them
Public Data Ferret's parent non-profit Public Eye Northwest got 501c3 approval from the IRS in mid-October 2011. We're trying to raise at least $125,000 per year and aiming for closer to $250,000 per year so we can hire additional reporting staff and bring to Oregon and Idaho our unique post-partisan news knowledge base approach, using online government documents and data, and public records requests to generate originally-reported, topic- and place-archived news compendiums. Civic dialogue needs to become calmer and more thoughtful, less hyper-partisan. This is part of the way to get there. We're seeking funding from targeted foundations and individuals. Building on our current community outreach work, we're also exploring programmatic working alliances with universities and colleges; and eventually planning to roll out our own revenue-generation strategies.
But -- we need your support. We'd like to give a big shout out to those who've stepped up so far, and invested in our work: Monica and Mike Harrington, Renee Radcliffe Sinclair, Apple Computer's matching grants program, William Clem, Sr., Krist Novoselic, Bharathi Jagadeesh, Stacy Sprout and Micahel Sacco. Please consider making an investment in our work to inform and engage communities. You can do this at our Donate page, or by directly contacting Matt Rosenberg. We're happy to answer questions and provide documentation as needed. We also welcome your assistance as a volunteer. Please create or update your profile with related preferences here.
Read about our recent award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Take a look at the dozens of endorsements we've received from a blue-chip cast of citizens, journalists, educators, students, public officials, business people and technologists; and review our growing media profile.