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Introducing: OpenGov Voices — Sunlight’s guest blogging program

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For a while now, we have been encouraging folks from across the nation who are either directly or indirectly involved in opening up their governments -- through the work that they do -- to write about their experiences. In our guest blogging program, we have heard from several individuals including technologists, civic hackers, journalists, educators and transparency activists. By opening up the Sunlight platform, for other similar voices to be heard, we have nurtured a spirit of collaborative action that says: You are not alone in the OpenGov movement. Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 10.47.25 AM (2) Are you doing unique work in your community to make your government more transparent? Maybe you are actively involved in creating special projects that are opening up your local government. We believe that you can spur transparency in your hometown by taking action to demand for openness. Write a guest blog and share your experience with us and the rest of the world. Some of our guest bloggers are citizen activists, website developers, teachers, journalists and local bloggers like you who are unlocking their governments through the work they are doing. Our guest blogging program was created to reach out to the growing yet diverse community of government transparency advocates -- as a way of sparking national discussion on the issues that are shaping their democracy. With that in mind, several folks have written inspiring accounts of how they helped make their leaders more accountable.

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Technology and Hurricane Sandy Recovery

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Last month’s “superstorm” Sandy caused devastation throughout much of the mid-Atlantic, with many residents still recovering from the powerful and destructive storm. One person affected by Sandy was Sunlight’s technology adviser Micah Sifry, who lives in New York. On the website TechPresident, he wrote about how New York public radio station WNYC initiated a crowdsourcing project to keep listeners informed in the hours, days and now weeks since the storm hit the city. Here at Sunlight, we decided to take a look at the innovations created by technologists and ordinary citizens to help residents affected by the storm. In Boston, CrisisCommons organized the Sandy CrisisCamp — a series of hackathons at MIT and around the world that brought together volunteers who could contribute to Sandy relief with communication technologies. You can read more about what the technologists did and the lessons learned at the remote hackathons here.

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Best practices for state and local bloggers

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With contribution from Amy Ngai Earlier this month, a few of us from the Sunlight Foundation attended two of the major online political organizing conventions: Netroots Nation 2012  and Right Online. Both events highlighted the challenges faced by local and state bloggers, and gave recommendations for bloggers on how to reach a broader audience. We always encourage local bloggers and writers to share their experience in promoting government transparency in their local communities by writing guest blogs. You can read our past guest blog posts here. Blogs prove time and time again to be one of the quickest inexpensive ways of getting the word out – in real time. And if used right, they can be an important platform to call for accountability and transparency from our respective governments.

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