Posts Tagged Transparency

Mayor Becker’s Transparency Initiative

Last week I had the opportunity, along with a half dozen other local bloggers, of sitting down with Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker for a casual discussion of city issues – truly informal and no holds barred. I thought it an unusual opportunity and was pleased to be included, even after I disclosed I actually lived in Davis County. But after all, as goes Salt Lake City, so go many surrounding communities. And for the bedroom communities, Salt Lake is where many of us work and play and we are greatly affected by the things that happen there.

A couple of other bloggers (here, here, just for example) have provided a good rundown on the topics discussed and resources available. Rather than repeat what others have written, I want to focus on what I think is a new important development; that is, Salt Lake City’s Government Transparency Initiative.

The initiative is still very new, but the web site supporting it is well-developed with many resources already in place. The Scope of Work is laid out in detail. The site has a Wiki, a blog, and a forum where visitors can enter comments or questions. And there’s a survey where they invite specific input from citizens.

It’s a work in progress and the city hopes to tap input from citizens in order to develop its transparency policy. I think they’ve made a good start. A significant amount of work has gone into the development of the web site so far, and the information provided is helpful. Salt Lakers should take a look.

Transparency has become a buzz word in government from the U.S. president on down. Salt Lake City seems to be taking this issue seriously. The real test will come in the implementation.

Bloggers or Journalists?

The above post is really more informational than opinion. But I thought it worthy of a mention here. But it also reminds me of one other topic from our meeting. The question arose as to whether bloggers were investigating and writing original news, or if we were simply commenting on news from media resources. We pretty much had to agree we got our sources from other media and our role tends to be as commenters to the news. Most bloggers do not have access to newsmakers. This is why a sit-down with the mayor was a unique opportunity for us. Still, I don’t see bloggers becoming the journalists of the new century–the decline of print media notwithstanding. I see journalists and bloggers as having very different roles. One being to report the news objectively, the other to attempt to keep everyone honest in the process.

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