Crowdsource government work

One way to reset the relationship of government and the public — from constant complaint — is to make it collaborative — thus constructive.

In my pollyanna way, I imagine a day when citizens could take over some tasks of government to save money and do them better. How about this as a small pilot:

Politico reports today that Rupert Murdoch wants to charge the White House $600,000 a year for access to news clips. The White House now pays $100,000 a year to a clipping service and News Corp. want to charge them for access to WSJ news in an apparent bid to make the White House deal directly with its own Factiva.

Well, to hell with that.

I have no doubt that we, the people, could do a spectacular job of curating clips — links and excerpts — for the White House (and us all). Imagine Wikiclips. Start with news data bases like Daylife (full disclosure: I’m a partner there) or GoogleNews as well as key RSS feeds (original sources and curated collections like RealClearPolitics) and canned searches and then create a very simple tool atop that to enable volunteer citizen-curators to find and highlight the important stuff. The Washington Post or New York Times or Techmeme could create the platform for the benefit of all.

There’s no reason for this task to be done at taxpayer expense. There’s no reason for the results of this work to be private; we all should see it. How could conservative Murdoch argue with saving tax dollars?