Various reports that I’ve been reading lately about the future of journalism seem to touch upon shared challenges and long-term concerns in the digital and new media age – complicated by the challenges and frustrations of tracking down and accessing Federal, State, and Local government information to produce responsible and accurate news products.
Here are some examples:
- The release of government information in usable formats. Paper documents are sometimes scanned, then embedded as an image in a PDF file, then made “accessible” online.
- Processing and analyzing large volumes of data. Accessing quality data from disparate sources of government information often involves having to first download and process enormous files. A reporter may spend large amounts of time parsing and combining data while trying to meet late-night deadlines.
- Information access and FOIA policies and rules vary from agency to agency – within Federal, State, Local/Tribal governments.
Are you are a journalist, blogger, or someone who writes about public affairs using government records? Are you interested in learning about new technologies that may make it easier for you to search through, access, and make sense of large volumes and types of information?
Then you’ll want to register for the Media Access to Government Information Conference – or MAGIC. This all-day conference will be held on Tuesday, April 12 in the William G. McGowan Theatre at the National Archives in Washington, DC. MAGIC is co-sponsored with Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy.
In his blog post “Sunshine Week 2011” a couple of weeks ago, David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, used the White House “Sunshine Week” initiative as an opportunity to highlight NARA’s Open Government Plan that outlines our commitment for improving online access to federal government records. MAGIC is just one example of this commitment. The conference provides an opportunity to bring together various people – reporters, scholars, government and non-government leaders – to contribute their insights into how journalists may better discover, access, and use digital government information. And dialogues such as MAGIC can help inform the retooling of NARA operations through key strategies in this Open Government Plan.
Check out the MAGIC web site for more information. Register today to save a seat in the beautiful McGowan Theatre. Send an email with your name, organization, and contact information (email and phone number) to MAGIC@nara.gov. The conference is free, and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and a chance to network with the speakers and attendees at an evening reception.
MAGIC is all the buzz this week! Read the Press Release, as well as another blog post by my colleague, David McMillen. We hope to see you on April 12!