Near the close of the OpenDataRace, a popularity contest for data sets that affect nonprofit missions, I was asked onto NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local drive-time news radio show from NPR affiliate WHYY. We recorded the segment last week and it aired Monday.
A feature story covering the as-yet unreleased Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections API-based online tool ‘License to Inspect,’ its inspiration and hope was published on Technically Philly Monday, a story I reported and wrote during the last couple months.
It is the last major feature of the Transparencity grant project I’ve been leading, and one of the more detailed investigative reports I’ve done in my journalism career. The feature, which details the nearly two-year struggle to go public with a project with internal support, is meant to show the lessons learned and obstacles faced in the hopes that future city agencies can more efficiently release their data publicly for development and citizen use.
Give it a read, for lessons to be taken for any local government. and then find some of what didn’t make it into the piece below.
NewsWorks Tonight, the daily, local, drive-time news radio program on NPR-affiliate WHYY in Philadelphia, invited me on for a segment that aired Monday about the launch of OpenDataPhilly.org and other new data initiatives.
Though I was sure to note during my interview that OpenDataPhilly was built by development shop Azavea, unfortunately that was cut in the tight finalized product.
Listen to the entire show here. Below, listen to my short segment with host Dave Heller.
In addition to OpenDataPhilly.org, Heller asks me about the OPA Data Liberator project and SEPTA’s new TransitView initiative. To be clear, while related in audience and now included in ODP, those projects were not specifically created by using the data catalog’s information.
I was recently interviewed for WHYY on eBay’s acquisition of regional e-commerce powerhouse GSI Commerce, but this was the first time I appeared on the new local radio program, which launched in May.
The first concerted effort to seek what types of city government data and information Philadelphians want was kicked off last night with an event I helped organize on behalf of Technically Philly with Young Involved Philadelphia.
Partnered with the Code for America fellowship program, I moderated a panel meant to illustrate concrete and simple definitions and needs for city data that was then followed by a half dozen breakout sessions in which moderators had their dozen group members answer two questions:
- What city information would you actually use?
- How would you want to access that information?
More details and video below.
In conjunction with the Technically Philly open data grant project, our Technically Media Inc. parent company has moved into a working office space at Temple University Center City at 1515 Market Street in Philadelphia.
It’s important to note that this office space is specifically for the six-month Technically Philly grant project, and so the office is used for those purposes and is only leased for that time.
It’s also important to note that we at TP take great interest in respecting, honoring and, in some ways, continuing the traditions of the past.
On behalf of Technically Philly, I have started work on a six-month, William Penn Foundation-funded journalism project called Transparencity, covering the open data movement in Philadelphia, as was announced this morning.
Conducted in partnership with the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University (which is chaired by my college honors thesis adviser), the project’s focus is “toward collaborative projects using technology and journalism to increase the availability and use of actionable government data.”
The support helps bolster existing coverage and allows me to strengthen relationships with new and previously only tenuous sources. Read all about our goals and expectations on the Technically Philly post here.
Those outputs show our work will extend beyond traditional coverage, but, to start, that has been a large part. I’ll update more here on the reporting that I am doing.
The William Penn Foundation is technically funding the nonprofit Institute, which, in serving as our fiduciary agent, is contracting out for-profit Technically Media Inc.’s Technically Philly news site. …Did ya get all that?