Government & Politics

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Best Practices
by Waldo Jaquith

The basic concept behind The State Decoded is both simple and obvious: Create a platform to display laws in a nice, understandable way, using the data already present in those laws. So why hadn’t anybody done it before? Because it’s too hard to do perfectly. The State Decoded is not perfect, by design. Its definition [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Rodrigo Davies

As the field of civic crowdfunding emerges and grows, it is spawning many competing visions of what the field is and where its appeal comes from. Lately I’ve been thinking about questions such as: How much is crowdfunding about community and shared values? How much is it about physical places? How much is it about [...] more »

Government & Politics
by mbauer

OpenSpending is a database, analysis, and visualization tool for budget- and expenditure-related data. It acts as a data warehouse, giving you access to budgetary data from around the world. One of OpenSpending’s most commonly used features is its ability to easily visualize budgets in two different formats. In this tutorial, we will use data from [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Camille Crittenden

New technology tools, combined with raised expectations among voters and stakeholders for government transparency, have sparked a movement toward “open government.” Championed by advocacy organizations and a few high-profile elected officials, the trend seeks to promote greater accountability and responsiveness for the systems of representative democracy. An area of particular opportunity — as well as [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Ryan Thornburg

A little more than five months after NBC News shut down its hyperlocal product, EveryBlock.com, the original open-source application has been resurrected in Columbia, Mo. But although both products were born of the same Django codebase and Knight Foundation funding, visitors to The Columbia Daily Tribune’s new Neighborhoods site will see a different emphasis and [...] more »

Government & Politics
by John Berryman

State codes are wretched. Seriously, look at a few from: California, New York, Illinois, and Texas. They are all good examples of how stunningly difficult it is to understand state laws. They don’t have APIs. Virtually none have bulk downloads. You’re stuck with their crude offerings. The State Decoded is a platform that displays state codes, court decisions, and information [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Zach C. Cohen

The Knight Foundation continues to fund the latest projects in news and technology, but the format of the Knight News Challenge might be near an end. In announcing the latest recipients of the Knight News Challenge grants, Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibargüen slipped in that the grants “may be finished” and “it may be that, as [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Matt Stempeck

Along with the other free peoples of the Internet, we’ve been discussing our reactions to PRISM, and whether and how U.S. — and global — citizens might be able to organize against this unprecedented digital spying. There are more questions than answers at the moment, and there’s an enormous challenge of confronting a massive entity [...] more »

Government & Politics
by Rob McCausland

In recent years, “public service media” has emerged as the term describing all that’s right with public media, community media, and non-profit journalism, and how those three sectors could be collaborating to function more perfectly in a new telecommunications-reformed promised land. Largely overlooked in these future of media discussions are two types of simple, non-edited [...] more »

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Idea Lab is a group blog by innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs who are reinventing media in the digital age.