Wednesday was International Right to Know Day
- Here are some remarks from the State Department’s Maria Otero who is the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs.
- The Reporters Committee marks International Right to Know Day.
- “The days of relying on a print newspaper and a television anchor telling us “the way it is” are long gone. In 2011, Americans and citizens the world over consume news on multiple screens and platforms. Increasingly, we all contribute reports ourselves, using Internet-connected smartphones.”
- “One of the largest obstacles to covering state budget issues is often state government itself. Accessing simple budget data such as revenue and expenditure totals can create a headache harsh enough to discourage even the most determined…”
- I have a guest post on The American Society for Public Administration’s blog.
- “From the recent earthquake to hurricanes and wildfires there certainly has been the need for residents to find out timely and useful information from their local government.”
- How’d your state do? How do you think it could be improved?
- “Still a little ooky about social media? Well, believe it or not, social media is a major element of news nowadays.”
- This talks specifically about social media, the news, and recent weather.
- “Technology is dramatically transforming the election process. Election offices are challenged to keep pace through leveraging technology to increase transparency and improve communication with the public. Here are five technology trends being adopted by election offices across the country to better serve voters, candidates and the media.”
- “The Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll shows totals for state and local government full-time and part-time employment, and it details employment by government function at the national and state level.”
- This came in after the original post. Thanks to Alex Howard for the heads up on this!
- Speaking of practical ways that the government can provide useful information to citizens online… there are various government webpages that help citizens become informed on being safe around fireworks. Here’s a sampling of them…
The White House and E-Petitions:
- With ‘We The People,’ White House Promises to Go E-to-the-People
- White House offers “We the People” online petitions at WhiteHouse.gov
Also, I had a guest post over on the American Society for Public Administration’s (ASPA) blog: “How Local Governments Benefit from Social Media“
- So what can government communications learn from the east-coast earthquake that happened on Tuesday?
- Here’s three things:
- be where they are, be official, be fast.
- “AmericaSpeaks released a new report, ‘Assessing Public Participation in an Open Government Era: A Review of Federal Agency Plans.’ This represents the most comprehensive review of the public participation aspects of the federal open government initiative to date.” (link in original)
- A bunch of info in the story by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
- “comScore released data from the comScore Video Metrix service showing that 180 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content in July for an average of 18.5 hours per viewer. The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in a record 6.9 billion viewing sessions.” (emphasis added)
Which way did the August 2011 Municipal Cost Index go? Find out here!
- The author “shares with us his organization’s venture at creating metrics for government websites that officials and citizens can agree on.”
This afternoon there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that had it’s epicenter in VA.
We felt it here in the office and within moments of it happening, I checked Twitter. What did I find? Multiple people that I follow had already said they felt it in DC and elsewhere. This was before the mainstream news websites would have had any information on it – well before the newspaper for tomorrow has come out.
I also quickly checked the USGS’ website to see if they had any information on it and they sure did!
So what can governments learn from this? (I get some of this from Steve Ressler’s point in this post on GovLoop, “What Tools Government Needs in an Earthquake“)
Here’s some ideas:
Be where THEY are!
- You need to be in places that you will be heard quickly. These need to be outlets where your citizens are and regularly frequent for news and official (or unofficial information). If they don’t hear your message, the rest pointless. Whether that is Twitter, Facebook, through an email list, or someplace else where people go for breaking news.
- People are talking about it – whether you are or not. And they may have inaccurate information. You need to be out there with correct and trustworthy information.
- Like I said, I found out info about the earthquake within moments of it happening – from sources who didn’t know what the earthquakes’ magnitude was, if there might be an aftershock, etc. You have to be quick to get information out there. The USGS was pretty fast. They had data about the earthquake available almost instantly on their website and they Tweeted about it on Twitter within minutes of it.
- Jeffry Levy (@levyj413 on Twitter) has an interesting observation about the USGS Tweets on Twitter.
- “USGS crowd sources earthquake reports“