Ellen Miller (Photo: Sunlight Foundation)

Thank you, Ellen Miller

Today, Sunlight Foundation announced Chris Gates will take over as its new president in October after co-founder and executive director Ellen Miller said she would step down from eight years at the helm.

Photo: White House/Pete Souza

America needs a .gov backup plan

Regardless of what’s happening between the opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, why is America in this situation, and what can we do to ensure it never happens again?

Introducing the Cycle of Transparency

Government transparency is that rarest of political phenomena — a great idea with support across the political spectrum and popularity among the public. Yet, here we are in the 21st century with every tool we would need to make government more transparent and accountable, and still we are operating with a government that often behaves as it did in the 19th century.

So, transparent government is a good thing, but we do not yet have one. Now what?

Introducing Sunlight Live

As the Open Government Directive was announced in a live webcast back in December, Sunlight tried something a little different by covering the event live in a variety of formats at once.

As is a norm around here, we basically just got a lot of people in a room, tried a bunch of stuff and paid attention to what seemed to work. At the end of the announcement we simultaneously had a tweet stream from across the open government community going, a live blog, and a Google Wave. We threw the obligatory word cloud at it, sent email blasts, and followed up with blog posts about the Directive’s many components.

It was fun and seemed to be pretty effective. And it also got us thinking …

An emblem for open government

As we’ve written about quite a lot so far in 2010, we are launching a national campaign to make government more open, transparent, and ultimately: accountable.

Today, we’re excited to put out one of the most important parts of building this campaign: the “mark” that will be emblematic of what we as an open government community stand for.

Digital Democracy Contest aims to ‘Empower students to engage 21st Century government’

The Global Networked-Intelligence Contest (GNIC.org) and Sunlight Foundation have partnered to promote the Digital Democracy Contest, an effort to engage social studies classes through a Web-based game that helps students “navigate and evaluate government information online.” The program includes lessons plans, information videos and a competition to help students practice research skills.

The contest is funded by a MacArthur Young Innovator Award.

Sunlight Labs’ Clay Johnson talks open gov at OSCON 09

Clay Johnson, Director of Sunlight Labs, talks open gov, “Apps for America,” and calls on developers to become active in their country at OSCON 09.


“What we believe is that open source plus open data equals better government. And my job is to find opportunities for developers, open source developers, to change their country. Nothing less.”

Let the Sunlight in

What’s so govfreshing about the Sunlight Foundation is that they don’t take themselves (too) seriously, yet still manage to effectively push an important issue.

I was honored to meet several members of Team Sunlight here at Transparency Camp West, and it’s refreshing to see Washington D.C. being infiltrated with both an earnest and innovative approach to democracy.