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The Sandbox

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  • Merged tech team will focus on impact

    You want to know what keeps me up at night? This thought: Now that the merger between CIR and The Bay Citizen has been finalized, our combined organization has almost instantly become home to one of the largest news-technology teams in the country.

    As the organization's chief technology officer, I'm still a little shocked. The talent we've so quickly assembled surpasses anything I could have imagined: sort of like asking Santa for a pony and having him show up with a flying unicorn that shoots lasers out of its eyes. It's amazingly cool, and, frankly, a ...

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  • Wrestling with Data in the Big Apple: Strata Summit 2011

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  • Summer of Smart: The Hackathons Continue!

    Hackathons have been popping up throughout San Francisco this summer, conjuring images of programmers coding under fluorescent lights all weekend with the goal of building something by the time Monday rolls around. Hackers might leave to sleep overnight, but some don’t even do that, and end up coding well into the night.

    I’m not sure whether they slept, but last weekend’s Summer of Smart hackers hit the keyboards and the streets, venturing into the Panhandle and even MUNI headquarters to bring their ideas to life.

    “The idea is to take an idea as far as you can ...

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  • Bay Citizen's Bike Accident Tracker Honored by Knight Batten awards 2011!

    The Bay Citizen's News Apps team has won a prize at the Knight Batten awards for innovation in journalism for our Bike Accident Tracker!

    Today's big winner was Storify, the social-media curation tool created by Hacks/Hacker's Burt Herman and others. Our partner site Texas Tribune, NPR's Andy Carvin and his Twitter communityBloomberg Government and West Africa Democracy Radio also received prizes.

    The Bay Citizen was one of another four outlets to receive an honorable mention and a prize at a seminar at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in September.

    This year’s winners ...

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  • Bay Citizen + Hacks/Hackers Code-a-thon: Hacking DataSF

    Thanks to all who came out this weekend for our first-ever hackathon! For those who missed it, our theme challenge was DataSF: find a dataset from the City of SF's online repo of public data and do something cool + useful with it.

    How To Improve DataSF?

    Before diving in, we had some great discussion on how to make this platform--and the open gov initiative everywhere--work better. Jay Nath (@Jay_Nath), the open-data pioneer who works at the City of SF's Department of Technology and helped spearhead the creation of DataSF, kicked things off Saturday morning with a great backgrounder ...

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  • Django/DocumentCloud integration? There‚Äôs an app for that!

    When it comes to scrubbing important documents for an investigative project, there’s no better tool than DocumentCloud. But when it came to managing those documents through our own Django-powered CMS, as opposed to relying on the DocumentCloud web interface each time, we were out of luck. So we built a bridge and threw the code into GitHub. Now, other newsrooms running Django can fork, clone, and contribute to this project.


     We were already using our CMS to upload important documents to AmazonS3 so they were accessible to all our reporters but those files were flat and didn't ...

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  • Gavin Newsom, Joanna Rees, and a roomful of hackers: Summer of Smart continues

    Over the weekend, around 50 artists, city planners, journalists and developers gathered on a fifth-floor office space overlooking ramshackle Market and Sixth streets with a single goal: build an interactive project focused on art and community in 48 hours or less.

    The hackathon was part of Summer of Smart (#sfSos), a summer-long experiment in urban innovation designed to bring designers, artists and coders together to drum up technical solutions to San Francisco's most pressing social issues using public data. The experiment is the brainchild of The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a San Francisco-based idea incubator fostering thought ...
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  • Calling All Developers, Journalists and Civic Thinkers To Our First Codeathon

    The Bay Citizen and Hacks/Hackers are teaming up to present our first codeathon!

    It's a 24-hour event focused on pulling info from DataSF.org and building cool and useful things with it. We're really excited about finding new ways to share information about our city through visualizations, storytelling and creative use of public information.

    The event brings together journos and developers, designers and civic thinkers to play with data, meet talented people and a chance to publish their work at The Bay Citizen. 

    The codeathon is July 16th-17th at The Bay Citizen's offices. Kickoff is at ...

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  • Census: These Are the People in Your Neighborhood

    The U.S. Census Bureau has launched an extremely useful -- and fun -- interactive tool that can help you bore in on the characteristics of an area's population with an incredible level of detail.

    Just put in your address on their interactive population map and you can see -- down to the block level -- how many people the 2010 Census counted, their age, race, age, and gender. You can use the interactive map to see how many of your neighbors are tenants and how many are homeowners. 

    For example, just now I learned that the my block in Southwestern San Francisco ...

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  • How Would Mayoral Candidates Use Technology to Fix City Problems?

    Nine San Francisco mayoral candidates and more than 100 of the city's technophiles and "government 2.0" types gathered Thursday night for a tech-focused mayoral debate that started with a simple question: How would you use technology to fix the city?

    The Bay Citizen was invited by event organizer Summer of Smart to show off our Bike Accident Tracker at an "apps showcase" before the debate. Using public data and technology to approach messy urban problems is a big part of our newsroom's mission, so it was great to spread the word about some of the surprising data ...

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The Bay Citizen thanks our sponsors
The Bay Citizen thanks our sponsors

Citizen Comments

  • Local political leaders need to recognize that we actually can ask voters to raise their taxes and earmark them for specific purposes - such as public transit.
    Look at your most recent county property tax bill to see examples.