A free and independent press is fundamental — it is essential — to American democracy at all levels. But knowing that is precisely why Coloradans must begin a conversation about alternative ways to fund local journalism — even ways that involve public dollars.
Now that Senate Bill 17-040 is in effect, ensuring your right under the Colorado Open Records Act to obtain digital public records in useful file formats, the state senator who introduced the legislation is considering an open data bill as the next logical step.
Colorado lawmakers are taking steps to formalize a 2½-year-old pilot program that encourages state government agencies to “streamline access to public data” by making datasets available online in machine-readable formats.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have no problem getting public information in a format that allows for searching, sorting and aggregating. Too often, however, database records are released in a format that makes analysis difficult, or they’re not released at all.
Registration is open for the 2015 national FOI Summit, to be held at the Curtis Hotel in Denver on Oct. 9-10.