Transparencity: introducing Technically Philly coverage on open data in Philadelphia - Philly


Jan. 31, 2011 11:00 am

Transparencity: introducing Technically Philly coverage on open data in Philadelphia

Technically Philly will be leading, in conjunction with the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University, a six-month William Penn Foundation-funded project on open data in Philadelphia
Even you binary code aficionados out there might miss that in the image above, a message is spelled out: Data Sets You Free.

It’s supposed to be clever, but whether or not it is, we hope our insistence is clear. The next great wave in government and journalism and citizen action, of course, will be data driven. The power of numbers — and the transparency, accuracy, efficiency and accountability that can come with them — has not even begun to be realized.

Since Technically Philly’s inception, we’ve held a strong editorial stance that Philadelphia should be again seen as a leader — not a follower — in the areas of sharing and using smart, usable data to better the lives of all of us who live here.

So, it’s with great excitement that we say Technically Philly will be leading, in conjunction with the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University, a six-month William Penn Foundation-funded project “toward collaborative projects using technology and journalism to increase the availability and use of actionable government data.”

The coverage series is called Transparencity and will feature reporting from all three Technically Philly founders. This funding will allow for deeper coverage in areas already of interest in our editorial mission: city technology policy, the Division of Technology and pursuits of government and other institutions releasing relevant data sets and related APIs and other actionable formats.

It should also be noted that this is grant funding for a specific reporting project for Technically Philly with a limited scope and does not come in conflict with our continued mission of growing our business.

Find details of the grant below.

Because the mission of this grant and our own editorial interests is of transparency, with permission of the foundation, below find the explicit expectations for our work with the Transparencity project.

Planned Outputs:

  • Advisory Group formed, including representatives from the Foundation, public interest journalism, technology community, city government and existing local online databases, to provide insight and oversee development of entrepreneurial data projects to engage public in civic issues.
  • Communications plan for engagement of stakeholders developed and implemented, including web presence and original reporting, providing information on project status, access to available city data, identification and status of unavailable data, and news and information about data availability.
  • Research conducted into comparable city best practices for increasing availability and use of actionable government data.
  • Inventory completed assessing opportunities for city data management and information sharing in the public interest.
  • Convenings held to facilitate collaboration between journalism and technology community, demonstrate potential projects and establish priorities for collaboration.

Anticipated Grant Period Outcomes:


  • Best practices research, reporting and data inventory informs stakeholders of priority collaboration opportunities.
  • Processes modeled for increasing accessibility and use of data to improve government transparency and effectiveness.
  • Engagement between key journalism and technology stakeholders around civic issues increased and actions taken towards pilot collaboration around open data development, as approved by the Foundation.
  • Government and public interest data more open and accessible.
  • Network of users for public interest data increased.

Anticipated Post Grant Outcomes:

  • Increased understanding among city officials of the potential economic benefits of making city data more easily accessible as evidenced by new data accessibility policies and systems change.
  • Progress made toward alignment of city policies on data collection and availability.
  • Increased market demand and community interest in accessibility of public data.
  • City use of data to inform policy, planning and decision making increased.

While featured Transparencity content will run on Technically Philly, staff will also curate a conversation on a broader, national movement around releasing municipal data and information on the grant project’s landing page here. Find other information about this grant on the William Penn Foundation website here.

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