Media organizations team together to host Data Camp and Data Contest

The Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch project, Spot.Us, MAPLight.org, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Information technology pioneer and philanthropist Mitchell Kapor, and the Sunlight Foundation have teamed up to sponsor the first California Data Camp & DataSF App Contest on November 7, 2009.

The one day gathering is open to developers, journalists, community organizers, policy wonks, students and others interested in working with government data to provide insights and information into California and its communities. A variety of issues will be tackled including computer-assisted reporting, data visualization, data access, data transparency, and data management.

“This will be a great opportunity to share ideas and brainstorm about ways to use data and technology to bring more transparency and accountability to local, regional and statewide reporting,” said Mark Katches, Editorial Director of California Watch, a new reporting team within CIR that is devoted to statewide watchdog reporting.

There will also be a day-long app-building contest using DataSF.org., the clearinghouse of data sets created by the city and county of San Francisco. The winning team will be awarded a prize.

“Who knows what could be created out of the Data SF App contest? It could bring us a great new tool to improve civic life by shining a light on public data,” said Spot.Us founder David Cohn.

“When government makes data available online for anybody to build over, you can see how government works and where the money goes. That's really good for democracy and for San Francisco,” said Craigslist’s Newmark.

“Maps bring to life complex data that's otherwise hidden in excel spreadsheets, making the abstract meaningful and identifiable. Simply, maps make the intangible, tangible," said MAPLight.org’s executive director Daniel Newman. "In the spirit of true participatory democracy MAPLight.org is proud to support this project and development of the next killer transparency app."

The event will be held at Citizen Space, 425 Second Street, San Francisco and runs from 8:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. To register, visit http://datacamp.eventbrite.com/. The cost is $10.

About The Sponsors

California Watch was launched in 2009 by the Center for Investigative Reporting to fill a serious gap in in-depth, solutions-based reporting in the state, to make government more transparent, and to engage the public in new ways on the critically important issues of the day. California Watch is supported by The James Irvine Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Visit www.californiawatch.org for more information.

Spot.Us is a nonprofit project that is pioneering community-funded reporting. Through Spot.Us the public can commission journalists to do investigations on important and overlooked stories. The content is then made available to all through a Creative Commons license. It’s a marketplace where independent reporters, community members and news organizations can come together and collaborate. Visit www.spot.us for more information.

MAPLight.org is a non-partisan nonprofit that offers users a powerful database that illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Visit www.maplight.org for more information.

Kapor is the founder of Lotus Development Corp. and has been the chair of the Mozilla Foundation since its inception in 2003. Kapor is also co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and served as its chairman until 1994. He is the original chair and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Linden Lab, the San Francisco company that created the popular virtual world Second World. Kapor is also a member of the advisory board for the Wikimedia Foundation.

The Sunlight Foundation is committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best watchdogs, by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency. Visit www.sunlightfoundation.com for more information.

Gov 2.0 gathers thought leaders from the information industry, not-for-profits, citizen creators of applications, and decision-makers from all levels of government to improve the ways that we carry out the business of the country.

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