Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street The Prime Minister's Office at 10 Downing Street, London, UK has set the standard for Governments all over the world with an innovative approach to digital communications. Its core offering is a website built on the open source wordpress platform which features a bespoke video player and array of social media tools. The team pioneered the ePetitions system in which 7 million British people have taken part; launched 'Ask the PM' in which Gordon Brown answers video questions from YouTube users; and Mr. Brown became the first Head of Government in Europe to embrace 'Twitter'. The website receives an average of 2 million unique users each month and it's most popular ePetition was signed by 1.8 million people.
Barack Obama US Presidential nominee in 2008, Barack Obama, D, has taken the basic organizing theory he learned in Chicago and combined it with an Internet campaign to create an exquisite organization. The main difference is the semi-autonomous "cell" organizing. This approach has allowed him to: raise hundreds of millions of dollars online through millions of donors. He has raised more money and mobilized more people than any campaign in history. His campaign has raised about $350 million to date from 1.7 million donors, mostly in contributions of $200 or less.
Brave New Films/ Foundation In order to strengthen democratic values through public participation, BNF uses media to teach, promote and instill advocacy and activism of social justice issues. The goal is to spark debate and discussion among an informed citizenry. It is only with information that people can affect change. Their shorts have been viewed over 22 million times. There is a pressing need for strong narratives and storytelling throughout the progressive movement. Brave New Films started out doing long form documentaries like OutFoxed, and Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. During 2007, they launched campaigns around specific issues using bloggers, press, a website, a large coalition of groups and short video pieces to bring attention to the issues, take action and cause change. Each video piece contains a specific 'action ask' at the end which is something the viewer is asked to accomplish to help make a difference. Their latest video about John McCain got 1m views in 3 days.
MTV's Choose or Lose With the theme 'Amp Your Voice,' MTV's Choose or Lose has shared the power of its platforms by giving millions of young voters the tools to self-publish and self-organize around the election issues they care about most. The campaign has tapped into the explosion in social networks & new media technologies to not only enable young voters to interact with each other around their election issues, but also provide more direct access to the candidates that impact their lives. The campaign has included the groundbreaking MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue Series, which allowed young people the first-ever, real- time interactive dialogue with presidential candidates; Super Tuesday coverage: the first-ever, live, mobile-to- web broadcasts by Street Team '08, a cadre of youth- focused citizen journalists armed with video-equipped mobile phones; Chooseorlose.com, a multi-media community where young people post their own video, audio, photos, and blog about the issues that matter most to them.
David All, David All Group David All is the founder of Slatecard.com, the Republican counter to the Democrats' ActBlue.com. More than 55 candidates use the platform on his website and they all raised over $1M in their first election cycle. Because of David's work, Congressman Jack Kingston of GA was named the 2006 Golden Dot Award for Online Politician of the Year by IDPI. He coordinated the Open House Project (increasing government transparency), and had it endorsed by John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi in an op-ed in The Hill. In 2007, he started TechRepublican.com, a group blog focusing like a laser on the intersection of Republican politics and technology. C & E named him among their '08 class of Rising Stars.
mySociety mySociety deserves recognition because it runs some of the best known and best used democracy websites in the world whilst being a tiny underfunded open source NGO run from people's homes across the UK. As well as running the often copied TheyWorkForYou.com, with 2 million unique users last year, which continues to set the standard for what a political transparency website should be like across the globe, mySociety also helps people with tangible problems like getting potholes fixed at FixMyStreet.com - 7000+ real world problems like grafitti and dumped trash have been confirmed fixed so far. mySociety also leads the field in building challenging, truly interactive sites for the executive branch - mySociety's petitions site for 10 Downing Street has over 8m signatures from around 10% of the entire UK population, perhaps the largest non-partisan democracy website ever built. And all by a tiny NGO with a handful of staff and some awesome volunteers.
Sunlight Foundation In just two years, Sunlight Foundation has developed, assembled and funded an array of web-based databases and tools to help investigative reporters, bloggers, politics junkies and ordinary citizens to better illuminate the interplay of money, lobbying, influence and government in Washington to a degree never before possible. The creation of these databases and the technologies applied to them that free the data from their silos has created an unprecedented demand for more: more information, more transparency, and more easy-to-use tools. Sunlight is a catalyst that enables the public to better understand, monitor and hold members of Congress accountable; help investigative reporters do the research necessary to inform the public; help bloggers and citizens interested in following and shaping politics to more easily inform themselves (and their readers and social networks); and push and pull Congress and Washington into a much more expansive and transparent relationship with the public.
Mardomak.org In January, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems launched the Persian-language site Mardomak.org. The site provides unbiased news and information for an Iranian audience with the aim of increasing civic awareness and encouraging civic participation. To that end, Mardomak.org was one of the only unique sites providing comprehensive coverage and analysis of Iran's Parliamentary elections in March 2008. Despite a hard-line approach by the Iranian government on online publications (censorship is common and many sites get filtered) Mardomak has successfully proven that by being unbiased and fair, and by providing information, paired with cutting edge online features and technology, there is still room to promote civic engagement and political dialogue in Iran. Groundbreaking features (in the Iranian context) that Mardomak.org utilizes include: widgets, interactive photo albums, interactive maps, online polls, and political scorecards for elected officials.
eGovernment Resource Centre The eGovernment Resource Centre has been aggregating the world's eGovernment strategies, eDemocracy initiatives, ICT policies, website standards, government information and communications technology (ICT) and government website best practices and standards for more than ten years. Published by the Victorian Government in Australia, it contains summaries of more than 11,000 external resources and 1450 articles. It is the foremost repository for everything eGovernment in the world. The site attracts more than 20,000 visitors each month and provides a weekly newsletter and RSS news feeds to its readership. Members are able to bookmark their favorite resources, rate and review content.
Avaaz Launched in January 2007, Avaaz is a global web movement with over 3.3 million members. They use the internet and technology to bring people powered politics to international decision-making. The core of Aveez's model of organizing is our email list, operated in 13 languages. Online accomplishments include the following: $2m raised online and smuggled in to the Burmese monks and other aid organizations after the cyclone, after a previous fundraiser to break the communications blackout and rebuild the democracy movement; 1.65 million signature petition for dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama, and a 2000-person human chain handshake from the Dalai Lama to the Chinese Embassy in London; Winning the YouTube Best Political Video award, beating Obama Girl etc, with millions of views for "Stop the Clash of Civilizations"; and taking down the Finnish prime minister's email address.
techPresident TechPresident, a daily blog and email digest of how the candidates are using the web and how the web is using them, was launched in February 2007. TechPresident.com covers the gamut of online campaign activities: from campaign websites, online advertising and email lists to video postings on YouTube and who's got the fastest growing group of friends on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. TechPresident's "Daily Digest" email newsletter has become a must-read for the leading journalists, bloggers and activists. TechPresident led the online discussion of how the Obama campaign was taking advantage of social media tools and will be leading the charge in understanding how the campaign tools will be used in governance.
Helium Helium is elevating citizen journalism and political issues through its partnerships with nonprofit organizations and news institutions, and through innovative awards series. Helium is currently partnered with over 65 organizations that include the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Center for Responsive Politics, Sunshine Week, National Press Club, the Knight Center for International Media and more. Helium Debate is a vehicle for civil discourse online. It invites organizations to bring their debate topics to Helium where citizens can debate issues in a fair and civil environment. Anyone can state their opinion by writing a compelling article - there is no flaming or commenting allowed. The Helium Journalism Awards is an opportunity for citizens to report on national and global issues and gain recognition and reward. The Pulitzer Center pioneered the program at Helium.
Oscar Swartz, Bahnhof Oscar Swartz, Swedish IT entrepreneur, founder of pioneer Internet provider Bahnhof, blogger and libertarian debater, is a well known critic of the "surveillance society", in Sweden. This surveillance society is often called "The Bodstram Society" and "The Ask Society", after the former and present Swedish Ministers of Justice, socialist and conservative respectively, who have championed far- reaching legislation concerning digital surveillance. Together with a number of other bloggers, he managed to form the "blog quake": in June 2008, the resistance against the Lex Orwell, due to pass in parliament quietly during the Euro Soccer Cup and Swedish Midsummer celebrations, managed to spill over into traditional mass media just days before. The government was almost defeated with MPs breaking party lines. In the weeks following the decision, the MPs that passed the law received 6.6 million e-mails from angry citizens, and thousands marched in demonstrations all over the country.
Pambazuka News Pambazuka News, with a readership of 500,000, is produced by a pan-African community of over 1,000 citizens - academics, social activists, women's organizations, writers, artists, poets, bloggers, and commentators who together produce insightful and thoughtful analyses that make it the most innovative and influential sites for social justice in Africa. Pambazuka publishes podcasts, videos and books; supports African women and marginalized groups to develop blogs, radio programs, podcasts and mobile phone technologies to enable them to give voice to their experiences; and enables CSO's to monitor the African Union. Its growth reflects a commitment to fostering a community of African citizens who hold their governments to account. Be it the recent Kenya electoral crisis, the xenophobic killings in South Africa, the electoral violence in Zimbabwe, or the growing influence of China in Africa, Pambazuka has become the source of authentic voices of Africa's social analysts and activists.
Adgeordnetenwatch Gregor Hackmack and Boris Hekele founded abgeordnetenwatch.de in order to improve communication between German voters and their members of parliament. This unique website has been extremely successful. Any citizen can ask questions about current political issues; politicians of all parties and ranks are addressed and usually answer fairly soon. Within 18 months there have been 20,000 questions and almost 17,000 answers. All this can be read free of costs by anybody. This project helps both sides: politicians learn more about the electorate's problems and worries, and the public knows better where their MPs stand. The media also have discovered abgeordnetenwatch.de as a perfect information tool. The non-profit website generates 200,000 visits and 2.5 million page impressions per month. It is financed by private donors and non-profit organizations. There is no state or party influence or money involved.
Yoani Sánchez, Generación Y Blog Yoani is one of the most influential people in the world according to TIME. The 32-year-old Cuban philology graduate has attracted a considerable readership by writing about her daily life in Cuba and describing economic hardships and political constraints in her blog. She is not a politician, she is only a woman who dreams and wants to share her dreams and millions of people are joining to these dreams. Freedom for Cuba and the Cubans. She has criticized Cuba's new leader, Raul Castro for his vague promises of change and minimal steps to improve the standard of living of Cubans. Sánchez, whose critical "Generación Y" blog received 1.2 million monthly hits has denounced several boycotts to her page.
Michael Bassik, MSHC Partners "Michael Bassik, head of Internet Strategy for MSHC Partners, has been a major influence on a generation of internet and politics. One of the first online political consultants, he was named a "Top 50 Politico to Watch" by The Politico and received the first-ever joint award for Excellence in Digital Media from Yahoo! and the American Association of Political Consultants earlier this year. Under his leadership, MSHC Partners has won more interactive Pollie Awards than any firm in the country.
David Kralik, American Solutions David Kralik, Director of Internet Strategy for American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), is changing the world of Internet and Politics by realizing that the web is not just another tool, but an entirely different culture, a new way of viewing the world. Through his work with Newt Gingrich, Kralik has bridged the gap between the network-based 21st Century world of the Valley and the hierarchical-centric world of Washington, DC, and is at the center of a critical effort to move beyond gridlock to solutions. One of the solutions that highlight how David harnesses new tools and strategies of the Internet is the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" petition effort that recently passed 1M signatures. This petition shows the power of the Internet to bring together many voices into a singular chorus so as to effect real change. This same definition could be applied to democracy itself.
Randy Paynter, Care2 Ten years ago Randy Paynter had the foresight to started Care2. It now has over 9 million members who help create change for social and environmental good in small and large ways. It can be as simple as removing chemicals used in the home to signing a petition to stop global warming. The reason for recognition is that this effort of enabling people to take small steps and create change has been a personal mission for Randy for some time. He has stuck with it when it wasn't popular, forging his vision ahead, and has stayed true to the original goals now that it is. Care2 has made real contributions to many environmental and social causes and has rallied individuals to take action. Randy is always looking for ways to improve the opportunities that people have to contribute and to connect for a purpose or cause. He strives for the ultimate experience of creating a destination that makes it easy to make a difference.
HuffPost's OffTheBus HuffPost's OffTheBus (OTB) is a citizen-powered and - produced presidential campaign news site sponsored by the Huffington Post and NewAssignment.Net. Its citizen journalists have broken some of the biggest stories of the presidential campaign season in the United States, and set new precedents for reporting in the digital age. New York Magazine credited OTB with creating the genre of citizen journalism. By combining the best traditions of legacy journalism with the democratic technology of the Web, by applying professional standards and techniques to citizen-based reporting, OTB has developed and refined a collaborative methodology for producing unique news stories beyond the scope of a traditional reporter or news organization. Since it launched in mid-summer of 2007, OffTheBus has quickly grown to more than 9,000 contributors.
Cuidad Politico Cuidad Politico,"City Policy", is an independent, Latin American focused political science portal devoted to developing the discipline both theoretically and in practice. The portal supports the academic political science community providing an exchange and communication mean for all interested, creating a network among academic institutions, civil society and politics through a scientific support on various subjects and providing links, data bases and events calendars. Students, journalists, politicians, scholars and civil servants debate write articles and post papers on the home page. A rich number of links to research institutes, universities, political science associations are provided, as well as to South American newspapers online.
The Social Liberal Party of Denmark The Social Liberal Party of Denmark made the first open political community in Denmark. Launched on the 26th of September 2007, it became the first Danish attempt to take the knowledge from the American campaigns and use it to 1) revitalize the party structure, making it easy to participate for everyone 2) open up the party debates to anyone interested in the subject (closed party member- debates are otherwise the rule in Denmark) 3) give everyone with an interest in the party the resources needed to contribute in the election campaign.
Farmsubsidy.org Brussels based freelance journalist Brigitte Alfter and her network of investigative journalists throughout Europe are about to change European farm policies with their web-initiative Farmsubsidy.org. Using the freedom of information law, they have forced European governments to release detailed data on who gets what from Europe's Common Agricultural Policy. All 27 EU countries will disclose data revealing details of some $100 billion given in subsidies by the Euro- taxpayer every year to farmers, food companies, industrial regeneration schemes and the fishing industry.
Argentina Elections This site vitally contributed to the discussion of the presidential elections in Argentina in last October 2007. The site included interviews with candidates, academics, electoral experts and journalists. Also, it allowed people to leave comments in the posted articles enriching the discussion. It provided an electoral guide that answered almost all doubts regarding the elections and included the electoral platforms and biographies of all 14 candidates.
EUObserver EUObserver is an online news service dedicated to providing news on the European Union. It is the only European newsmedia embracing updates from all over Europe as well as leading news from the EU capital Brussels. A classic combination of news and comments provide a unique meeting place for all who are interested in the most important political developments on our continent.
List of Road RacesEdit
Greenfield Glide 5K Run & Fitness Walk: Cross-country challenges are presented in this 24th annual race through Schenley Park. Schenley Park Overlook (June 1). To register, call Citiparks at 412-422-8885.
Riverview Park 5K run and fitness walk: Riverview Park Activities Building, 7 p.m. (June 6). 412-255-2493 or www.riverview5K.com.
Panther Hollow Challenge, 10K, 5K: Westinghouse Monument, Schenley Park, 9 a.m. (June 22). 412-327-2151 or www.thegreater pittsburghroadrunnersclub.com.
Pittsburgh Pirates Fun Run/Walk for Epilepsy: PNC Park, 9:30 a.m. (June 21). 1-800-361-5885 or www.efwp.org.
Brookline Breeze 5K Run/Walk: 5K run and fitness walk and 1-mile fun run. Brookline Boulevard at Pioneer Avenue (Aug. 9). 412-531-9227 or www.brooklinebreeze.com.
Run Around the Square: 1.5-mile fun run/walk through Fern Hollow in Frick Park includes costumed characters and musicians. Regent Square School (Aug. 23). 412-422-6562.
Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, Fitness Walk and Kids' Kickoff Run: Heinz Field, 9 a.m. (Sept. 1). 412-697-7713 or e-mail 5K@steelers.com.
Dollar Bank Junior Great Race: Ninth annual race includes the One-Mile Family Fun Run, the 50-Yard Tot Trot and the Diaper Dash. Downtown (Sept. 21). 412-255-2493.
Richard S. Caliguiri Great Race: 10K race begins in Frick Park at Beechwood Boulevard and finishes outside Point State Park. The 5K will start at Fifth and Atwood in Oakland and follow the same route as the 10K to the finish line (Sept. 28). 412-255-2493. WALKING
Great Strides Walk: 10K walk and day of fun and fitness with games and pony rides benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. North Park, Boyce Park and South Park (May 18). www.cff.org/great_strides.
Walk With Me Easter Seals Benefit: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium (July 19). 412-281-7244, ext. 229 or 221, or www.walkwithme.org. BIKING
Pedal Pittsburgh: A 6- to 60-mile bike tour of Pittsburgh design landmarks and neighborhoods. Begins at Station Square (May 18). 412-232-3545.
Escape to the Lake: 150-mile bike tour from Cranberry to Lake Erie to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (June 7-8). www.nationalmssociety.org or 412-261-6347.
Tour de Cure: Rides of 8 to 100 miles. Benefits American Diabetes Association. Seneca Valley High School, Harmony (June 22). 1-888-342-2383.
For more information on biking events, go to the Western Pennsylvania Wheelmen site at www.wpwbikeclub.org or call 412-422-2234. SWIMMING
Citiparks will operate 18 outdoor swimming pools from June 13 through Labor Day. Pools include Ammon (Hill District), Banksville, Bloomfield, Fowler (Perry South), Highland Park, Homewood, Jack Stack (Brighton Heights), Magee (Greenfield), McBride (Lincoln Place), Moore (Brookline), Ormsby (South Side), Phillips (Carrick), Ream (Mount Washington), Riverview Park, Schenley Park, Sue Murray (North Side), West Penn (Polish Hill) and Westwood.
Individuals can purchase pool tags or pay a daily admission fee. Pool tags for city residents are $30 (16 and over); $15 (ages 3-15); $60 per family of four; $10 each individual member; $45 noncity resident. Daily admission is $4 adults; $3 kids.
Each pool will sponsor a Citiparks swim team for children 6-18 years old. Teams will compete throughout the summer and the ultimate champions will compete at the Citiparks Championship Swim Meet Aug. 2 at the Highland Park pool.
Throughout the summer, children from preschoolers to teens can attend swimming lessons for a small fee. Citiparks will offer free two-week "learn to swim camps" at various pools throughout the summer for children 6-15 years old.
Pool information: 412-323-7928. TENNIS
Citiparks has multiple courts in Frick, Highland, McKinley, Mellon, Schenley and West parks, as well as courts in dozens of neighborhood parks and playgrounds.
Summer programs include tennis lessons and summer tennis camps. Various fees.
Bob O'Connor Summer Tennis Classic: Tennis enthusiasts of all ages and abilities will take to five city courts for the second annual competition (June 21-29). Following its inaugural year, the Tennis Classic received the 2008 USTA President's Award for becoming the largest adult tournament to be held in the City of Pittsburgh in decades.
Paul G. Sullivan Championship: Now in its 88th year, this tournament is open to all players 16 and older. Frick Park Red Clay Courts (July 12-20).
Tennis information: 412-244-4188. BASKETBALL
Eat'n Park/Hope Classic: 3-on-3 double elimination tournament and skills contests for ages 8 and up, with proceeds benefiting the Hope Network. Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills (June 14). 412-826-2771 or www.hopenetwork-pa.org. IN THE PARKS
Disc golf: 18-hole course at Schenley Park Meadow; nine-hole course at Phillips Park in Carrick. For more information, call the Flying Disc Society at 724-933-6969.
Lawn bowling: The Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club offers free introductory lessons at 1 p.m. Saturdays through May and by appointment at the greens in Frick Park, 7300 Reynolds Ave. www.lawnbowling.net or 412-782-0848. TRAILS
Take a hike on one of these outstanding trails.
Armstrong Trail: 724-543-4478. This 52.5-mile trail winds along the Allegheny River from Armstrong County to Clarion County.
Arrowhead Trail: 724-942-5000, www.peterstownship.com. Four miles of winding trail along Brush Run Creek in Peters.
Butler-Freeport Community Trail: www.dcnr.state.pa.us. More than 10 miles of crushed limestone surface.
Eliza Furnace Trail: 412-255-2539. Nearly three miles of trail running from Downtown to Greenfield between Second Avenue and the Parkway East.
Montour Trail: 412-831-2030, www.montourtrail.org. More than 30 miles of trail from Carnegie to Weirton, W.Va.
Three Rivers Heritage Trail: 412-488-0212 or www.atatrail.org. Five miles of trail beginning at Washington's Landing and running along the picturesque Allegheny River to the North Shore.
Yough Trail North: 724-872-5586 or www.youghrivertrail.com. From McKeesport to Connellsville, the trail encompasses 43 miles along the Youghiogheny River. VENTURE OUTDOORS
The region's premier outdoor recreation nonprofit organization offers more than 500 outings, classes and events (year-round) designed to make it easy to try new activities outdoors, especially for beginners. They offer private programming for groups, and their public programming is open to all. For a complete list of activities: www.ventureoutdoors.org. To register, call 412-255-0564.
Here are some highlights for this season:
Venture Outdoors Festival: Join Venture Outdoors for an entire day of FREE outdoor activities for all ages and skill levels. Try your hand at biking, kayaking, fishing, climbing, dragon boating, and yoga (May 17, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.). Washington's Landing. Free parking and shuttle to the festival in the Del Monte lots along River Avenue.
Paddling: From May to October, kayak and hydro bike rentals at Kayak Pittsburgh Downtown, 412-969-9090, located under the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and kayak, canoe, and rowboat rentals at the Kayak Pittsburgh North Park Boathouse, 724-935-1968.
Beginner Paddles Downtown every other Monday. $25 for members, $40 for nonmembers. 5:45-8:30 p.m.
Beginner Paddles at North Park Lake every other Monday starting May 14. $20 for members, $35 for non-members. 6-8 p.m.
Wednesday Wake-up Paddles every Wednesday. $10 for members, $20 for nonmembers. 6:15-7:30 a.m.
Happy Hour Paddles 5:45-7 p.m. June 13, July 10, Aug. 1, Aug. 22. 5:45-7 p.m.
Fireworks Paddles on May 23, June 20 and July 11. $30 for members, $50 for nonmembers. 8-11 p.m. FISHING
TriAnglers Downtown Fishing Program every Wednesday in front of PNC Park on the Riverfront Trail 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. All gear and bait provided (all participants age 16 or older must have valid Pennsylvania fishing license). $5 season pass. HIKING
Day Treks (Lite), Pie Hikes, Beer and Wine Hikes, Nature Hikes, Yoga Outdoors, Tyke Hikes (Family Programs) and Doggie Day Treks, to name a few. More than 60 different hikes in state, county and city parks. Prices vary from $3-$40 depending on activity. BIKING
Green Building Bike Excursions, May 31, June 21, July 26. $15 for members and $30 for nonmembers. 1-6 p.m.
Urban Bike Rides (on a brand new fleet of bikes) along the Riverfront Trail Downtown Trail July 6, August 9. $10 for members and $20 for nonembers. 1-4 p.m.