A friend of mine recently showed me a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle which he brought back from a conference he attended in that hilly and crowded city. The paper monitored how long it took for the city to fill a particular pot hole; repair that sign; fix that light; check this abandoned house or car. The report included the person at the city government responsible for repairing or fixing whatever was in the column. The date the issue was reported to the city was included in the short square. Imagine the following in the Denver Post: "Day 234, for pot hole going unrepaired corner of Colfax and Monaco." That is one way print journalism can help put pressure on elected officials and city agents to correct a particular problem reported to the city. I just thought I saw Frederick Bonfils pass through my front room.
Funny, you should say?
Comes now an article in Business Day of the New York Times: "News Sites Dabble with a Web Tool for Nudging Local Officials." The article by Daniel Slotnik reports that The Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Connecticut wanted to increase hits on its website. The story then goes on to relate that SeeClickFix helped the newspaper with problems in the city. Check out EveryBlock.com and Reports.com. Another site of interest mentioned in the article FixMyStreet.com could be a site that Neighborhood Inspection Services might consider for Denver. And an added plus could be the accountability trail involved in dealing with troubled properties in our city. I have had complaints from Denver citizens who mention that enforcement on dilapidated properties seems irregular and records get lost and no one at the city ever seems to remember what is going on at a troubled site. You don't have time for my stories along this theme.
So check January 4, 2010 New York Times to find out how the digital media are changing politics by putting pressure by alerting local officials in the excellent article by Daniel E. Slotnik. I assure you I will pass this one along to the Mayor.