The work, centered at Smart Chicago, is a part of the Documenters program. Here’s a snip from a blog post I wrote, kicking off this particular work with the CPATF:
We care about justice and we care about accountability, so we have sent text documenters, videographers (Community TV Network), and a photographer (me) to these convenings under our Documenters program, which “an essential tool for us to add new thinkers, generate ideas, and expand the field for civic tech.”
We show up at public meetings and document the proceedings because we’re interested in paying as much attention as we can to what others are saying, what their concerns are, and how they interact with official government structures. These community forums give us a great opportunity for this. We have a number of goals for this series:
– Document the actual proceedings, with special attention, in this instance, to the speakers from the public— exactly what questions were asked, what documents were referenced, and what answers were offered by the task force
– Research the questions and answers to the greatest degree possible. This includes learning more about the speakers, many of whom have decades of experience in their communities. Research and link to their organizations, their work, and the external documents, cases, and other matters that they reference
– Aggregate the information and draw some rudimentary conclusions. This means simple things like counting attendees and speakers as well as some more sophisticated analysis like grouping comment types and themes.
My role was to manage the project— hire the videographers, writers, and photographers. I also attended most of the meetings and did all of the photo documentation for meetings 1, 2, and 3.
When we went around to throw out the problems that need solving, the one I focused on was the fact that there is little to no true collaboration among all parties. That is to say, if we consider the goal to be the provision of relevant, responsive, accurate information from government to the public, we have to consider the needs, fears, skills, and strengths of all parties to that transaction.
I got a lot out of this day and I think there was a real movement away from legislative and administrative solutions (FOIA law, Attorney General oversight, etc.) and into market and policy-oriented solutions (applications built on existing data, working with government to get value out of their own data, etc.)
Dan Sinker is @MayorEmanuel. Never let it be said that Daniel X. O’Neil cannot keep a secret. This morning I went to Sinker’s house to take some pics for him. One ended up in The Atlantic piece:But I like this Seesmic money shot better:
I really love these pics.UPDATE: Here’s some media outlets that used my pics:
Here’s something I worked on over Christmas vacation: AldermanicWebsites. It is a fun/ manic little Web site that “contains links to and reviews of the Web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other Web referencia for each of the 349 people who filed nominating petitions to run for Alderman in one of the cities wards.”*I like the Analysis best– so far I’ve got five posts there, covering everything from good stars and bad stars to remarkable sites and popular Web development platforms. And you’ve realy got to view source to see anything.
Here’s the About page with a snip about the technology reviews:
AldermanicWebsites.com is a new hub tracking the web-based battle for Chicago’s City Council. Courtesy of internet developer and writer Dan X. O’Neil, the site offers an easy way to comb through the online output of hundreds of candidates who submitted nominating petitions to run for one of Chicago’s 50 council seats. You’ll find links to the candidates’ websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and what O’Neill calls “other Web referencia.” There are reviews and discussions of their digital production too — check out O’Neil’s thoughts on the star imagery on the prospective council member pages — and a link to a set of photographs of the front page of each aldermanic candidate’s site. Browsing through those front pages is a useful way to learn how council candidates are defining the issues their communities face, where they think incumbent council members have fallen short, and why voters should trust them to do a better job.