Cool Ideas I Wish I Had Thought of No. 1

Via new poster David Platzer, I came across a crazy little web platform called LittleSis. LittleSis is an interesting collaborative effort, a sort of involuntary facebook for the political and media elite. It’s like Sourcewatch combined with Wikipedia.

LittleSis = The Public's Equivalent of Big Brother

LittleSis = The Public's Equivalent of Big Brother

Not sure it’s the kind of thing I’ll use regularly (or ever), but these kinds of online resources are interesting because of how they can be used for basic research in the early stages of stories by investigative journalists and bloggers. Hypothetically, they also make for distributed reporting, although I believe such platforms are best utilized by leaders within communities. They are cool tools that work best when you have people who are going to use them. Also, such platforms make for rad mash-ups. Check out the Sunshine Foundation for more information on similar kinds of initiatives.

These kinds of nonprofit pro-transparency initiatives, along with ProPublica are broadening the definition of political journalism in the US. Frankly, such nonprofit investigative reporting institutions make me less concerned with the declining influence of the newspaper in American political communications.