The year's best news, analysis and opinion sources for state and local tech leaders.
In 2012, StateTech editors compiled a list of IT blogs, and it has been one of our most popular pages for over a year. While it offered variety and substance, we decided to crowdsource submissions for the 2013 version.
When we asked the StateTech community to help us create a useful resource for thought leaders in state and local government technology, we didn't expect such an enthusiastic response. Thanks to our readers — who submitted 34 blogs and voted more than 300 times — the 2013 must-read IT blog list is more valuable than ever.
This year's list includes county CIOs, media mainstays, hyperlocal blogs and nonprofit organizations. A wide variety of topics — everything from open data and mobility to networking and cloud computing — are covered by experienced IT pros. You'll find news, reviews, opinions and analyses of every tech topic affecting local governments today. The list below appears in no particular order. You can follow all of the bloggers on our 2013 Twitter list.
Is there a blog we missed? Let us know in the Comments. If your blog has been selected, grab your badge here.
At Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, project director and former Indianapolis mayor Stephen Goldsmith has a keen understanding of what it takes to deliver useful information to public leaders. The Data-Smart City Solutions blog publishes in-depth case studies on local governments pursuing all types of data projects in fields like public safety and civic engagement.
Few private businesses have been as influential in the public sector as Cisco. On the Government Blog, some of the brightest minds at Cisco publish case studies, blog from tech conferences and highlight the use of Cisco products by government agencies. Readers will find hundreds of posts, engaging discussions and links to some of Cisco’s other blogs.
Must-Read Post: Nice, France: A Model City of the Future in the Making
This blog is an excellent resource for businesses looking to work with public agencies. Since 2007, industry and government leaders have been reading about everything from infrastructure and health IT to budgeting and enterprise resource planning. In addition to Breaking Views — its “Blog on the Government Marketplace” — GovWin offers loads of research, white papers and email newsletters.
Kristy Fifelski is back for 2013, but this year her videos are being presented on Government Technology. Fifelski was a manager of web services and social media for Reno, Nev., before starting her popular GovGirl video series. Check in for weekly videos, and follow her on Twitter for more regular information about social media, mobility, transparency and open data.
Must-Read Post: No. 1 Thing to Get Right in Transparent Government
StateScoop’s focus on the people and the strategies behind government’s use of IT is both refreshing and insightful. Its StateScoopTV page features valuable interviews with state CIOs and other C-suite executives. The site delivers excellent technology news and trends reporting, including mobile, broadband and open-source coverage, tailored specifically for small government.
Must-Read Post: A look (and listen) behind the success of Utah.gov
New Orleans is quickly becoming a hotbed of technology startups, thanks in part to business-friendly tax incentives and the city’s participation in the federal Entrepreneurs in Residence program. Silicon Bayou News emerged to foster a sense of community in the growing startup environment. The site is an example of how public–private partnerships can spark innovation, create jobs and improve government services.
Philly continues to be a leader in web services. The PhillyInnovates blog is written and maintained by the city’s managing director’s office, which is made up of managing director Richard Negrin and the city’s other deputy mayors. These senior leaders, as well as other city employees, contribute to this blog, which focuses on digital services, such as their 311 mobile app.
Must-Read Post: Using Data in the Fight Against Poverty
Massachusetts is one of just a few states with an active tech blog. Its tagline — Continuous Innovation for a More Productive Commonwealth — is a perfect summation of the site's content. Here, IT leaders publish their thoughts a few times each month. Recent posts tackled agile development and BYOD programs. In addition to providing a resource to citizens and technology leaders, this blog serves as a model for other states to emulate.
Must-Read Post: “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) Gives Users More Choices
As editor Bailey McCann says, “State and local is the engine driving politics, business and everyday lives.” Her site, CivSource, is quickly becoming one of the best resources for news about technology and government leaders. CivSource dives into hot-button topics, such as civic engagement, public transportation, education and open data. Signing up for the weekly email newsletter affords quick access to the site’s best stories.
Must-Read Post: How Raleigh Is Building Their Open Data Solution
Did you know that Omaha, Neb., Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are growing centers of technology? There are numerous implications for governments, particularly surrounding open data and the entrepreneurs that want to use it for apps and other projects. According to the New York Times, “Many entrepreneurs credit Silicon Prairie News for the region’s start-up growth.”
Must-Read Post: How to hack a gigabit city
Government Technology, a staple of government technology news, is part of the e.Republic network that also includes Governing, Public CIO and the Center for Digital Government. Their reporters share some of the most interesting innovation in local governments around the country. Their slick new website includes an endless scrolling feature, which keeps the great content flowing.
Must-Read Post: Establishing an Analytics Culture in Public Safety
Los Angeles, Calif., is one of the most polluted cities in America, but Cleantech LA is trying to change that. This organization is bringing together “business, government, and academia to grow the cleantech sector in Los Angeles, promoting sustainability and economic growth.” Contributor Justin Ong curates tech, sustainability and relevant local news every day, making this site a lively and engaging place for readers.
Must-Read Post: Smart City Market to Reach $3.3T by 2025
Portland, Ore., is unofficially known as the Rose City to locals and as the Silicon Forest to the tech community. Blog founder and editor Rick Turoczy blended the two monikers together when he began the Silicon Florist site. Turoczy does an excellent job of covering the local startup scene, including the elections and legislation that help new companies get their products off the ground.
Must-Read Post: Oregon Startups: What would you ask the next governor of Oregon?
When Google Fiber landed in Kansas City, Kan., in 2011, the tech scene exploded. It was a coordinated effort between local government, businesses and citizens that attracted a lot of attention — and business — to the area. The Technology Council of Greater Kansas City has emerged as a leading membership organization that provides resources, like this blog, to help local tech enthusiasts succeed.
Must-Read Post: Privacy vs. Security: The Important Difference
Chicago’s impressive tech initiatives have been well documented by StateTech (see 5 Reasons Why Chicago Is Leading the Pack in Data and Technology). The Smart Chicago Collaborative is a civic organization created by the MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust and the city of Chicago to promote access to technology, open data and education. They are involved in a number of exciting projects, which are blogged about frequently.
David Hawks is an agile software development coach, an Agile Austin board member and the CEO of Agile Velocity. His posts on Austin Agile dive into the world of agile development, a strategic and fast-paced approach to software projects. Governments have much to learn from experts like Hawks, who suggests that agile principles can double and even quadruple productivity.
Must-Read Post: Many Companies are Drowning in a Sea of Opportunity
“How could cities be improved if they were shaped by citizens with the help of experts -- instead of being planned by the experts and handed to citizens as a finished product?” That’s the question that EngagingCities poses to its readers. Technology, especially access to fast Internet and open government resources, is a key part of its vision for more-engaged cities.
Must-Read Post: 10 Tools for Open Source Cities
A product of the Atlantic Media family, which includes Nextgov and Government Executive, The Atlantic Cities has quickly grown into one of the most interesting urban news sites on the web. They bring together “news, analysis, data, and trends” to create “an engaging destination for an increasingly urbanized world.” Their articles are rich with data, and their research is both thorough and thought provoking.
Must-Read Post: The Data Center Next Door
Another one of Stephen Goldsmith’s projects, Governing’s Better, Faster, Cheaper blog addresses the challenge facing nearly every government agency today: do more with less. Other contributors include Charles Chieppo, a colleague of Goldsmith’s at Harvard; and John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government. For thoughtful, detailed discussions of IT solutions in government, this blog is among the best.
Must-Read Post: Are Wisconsin's Public Employee Laws a Panacea for the Nation?
GigaOM doesn’t focus exclusively on government technology, but it is one of the leading technology sites on the web. Trending topics include cloud, mobile and data. The pace of the coverage is as impressive as the coverage; regular GigaOM readers won’t miss a beat, even in the busy tech world.
What else is technology besides a tool to make our world a better place? IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative is a platform for discussions about improving cities, organizations and lives with technology solutions. Everything from medicine and augmented reality to transportation and sustainable technology is examined on this worthwhile blog. Within this site lives the Smarter Cities blog. And be sure to check out the Smarter Cities Tumblr page, too.
Code for America is one of the most exciting things happening in government today. Although founder Jennifer Pahlka is currently serving a one-year fellowship at the White House, her organization is making big things happen in ten municipalities this year. Check out the blog for updates on Code for America’s open-source projects and interviews with their fellows.
Must-Read Post: The Future of Municipal Broadband
Barry Condrey’s blog “about things that interest me as a Chief Information Officer (CIO) working for a local government” is likely to interest other public leaders as well. The Chesterfield County, Va., CIO offers advice on social media, leadership and mobile technology. Not many CIOs write as transparently as Condrey, which makes this blog a true must-read.
Must-Read Post: Make the CIO Transition - Order Taker to Trusted Advisor
Quality is more important than quantity. The Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) doesn’t post updates often, but when it does, the community listens. The GTA is, after all, busy delivering IT infrastructure to 85 executive branches and 1,400 state and local government entities. Contributors like Georgia CIO Calvin Rhodes dig into data management and IT transformation.
Did you know the state of California employs 130 CIOs and more than 10,000 IT professionals and spends $3 billion annually on technology? California is also home to some of the most forward-thinking innovation in IT, which is why the California Department of Technology created this blog. Check in for updates on tech projects and examples of how the Golden State is putting IT to work for its citizens.
Must-Read Post: California IT Initiatives are Finalists for Awards
Avaya, a provider of communication and collaboration systems, runs the Connected blog to consider communication tools and their implications for business and government. Recent posts, like “iOS 7's Nine Killer Enterprise Features,” are timely and relevant, while others, like “Crowd Sourcing 911? Heck yeah!” deliver incredible tech stories that would otherwise go unnoticed.
How do communities get access to high-speed broadband Internet access? It’s not easy, but Community Broadband Networks is at the center of the fight for access. Partnership between government, private industry and citizens is complex but necessary, and this blog is loaded with resources for those looking to bring faster Internet to their municipality.
Must-Read Post: Small Minnesota Town, Annandale, Fed up With Slow DSL
This is an incredible resource for information about data enters. Data Center Knowledge’s articles are thoughtful, timely and thorough. Led my Rich Miller, the team publishes multiple stories each day, making this website one of the premier destinations for data center intelligence.
Must-Read Post: HP Launches Cloud-Based Analytics as a Service
The GovLoop blog is unique, given that anyone can contribute. This means that community members can blog about anything, making the range of topics extensive and the content intriguing. Check out the featured posts for editors' picks, and if you have something to say, sign up and start writing. This community is engaged, and the value is always growing.
Must-Read Post: 10 Most Entertaining Government Mobile Apps
Microsoft is an important partner for hundreds of governments around the country. Their deep experience in collaboration and productivity tools solidifies them as experts in the field. This blog dives into topics like BYOD, open data and cloud computing. Check out the CityNext section for resources created exclusively for city governments.
Must-Read Post: Bloomington, Illinois: fast track to modernization
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is a community of leaders working to make government better. Their annual conference is one of the most popular events of the year, and their blog is becoming an equally valuable platform for networking and discussion. Each week, director of government affairs Mitch Herckis blogs about important tech news that all public officials should be aware of.
Must-Read Post: This Week: Spotlight on Cybersecurity
Led by chief digital officer Rachel Haot, New York City is pushing an aggressive campaign to engage businesses and citizens with the city’s government online. This blog is tapped into all of the city’s technology projects and provides frequent updates on their progress. Also, be sure to check out some of the city’s initiatives, including Made in NY and NYC OpenData.
Must-Read Post: An Interactive Guide to NYC OpenData
Austin, Texas, might be weird, but it’s also a hub of innovation and technology. Prompted by the tech movement in Austin and nearby San Antonio, journalist Laura Lorek was inspired to create Silicon Hills News. The site does an excellent job covering the busy tech scene, which includes topics like venture funding and public policy.
Must-Read Post: The State of Austin’s Tech Scene
Editor-in-chief Tishin Donkersley has positioned AZ Tech Beat as the go-to source for technology news in the state of Arizona. In addition to the blog’s daily articles, check out the interactive map of tech companies, incubators and coworking space in the state. Journalists looking to publish local tech news should be looking at AZ Tech Beat for guidance.
Must-Read Post: Gangplank Tucson Hosts 24-Hour Civic Hacking Competition
As part of TechCrunch, CrunchGov covers a healthy mix of federal, state and local news. The NSA story has been a hot topic lately, but the site covers all kinds of technology that affects government. Recently, CrunchGov editors ranked all 435 members in the House of Representatives on “how closely their voting aligns with the consensus interests of the technology industry.” It’s a fascinating project and an esteemed tech site.
Must-Read Post: San Francisco To Test Online Participatory Budgeting
If you are looking for smart, in-depth news and opinions about cities, urban development, infrastructure and technology, Next City is the place to be. Writers hail from such esteemed publications as Bloomberg Businessweek, Vanity Fair, the New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Check out both the daily blog and the email newsletter for quick access to sophisticated content.
In the wake of the recession, “The Next Economy project asks: How are Americans adapting to the new economy?” Technology is key to unlocking efficiencies in America, although this blog explores everything from education to finance. Come for “How Does a Popular City Avoid the Curse of Success?" and stay for “An Instagram Tour of Chattanooga.”
Must-Read Post: The Silicon Prairie: This is Not Your Grandfather's Farm
Technology plays an important role in each category offered by Sustainable Cities Collective: transportation, building practices, community planning and development, education, water, health and infrastructure. The collective aggregates content from other blogs in addition to publishing original articles. As indicated by its Twitter following of 56,000 people, the community is active and growing.
Must-Read Post: The Impact of 3D Printing on City Sustainability
“Better cities through technology.” That’s the maxim of the Technical.ly network, which includes local blogs in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Brooklyn. (Each is robust enough to have been separately included on this list, but there were too many great blogs we wanted to feature.) Check out all three of these great blogs for news about the intersection of technology and government.
Must-Read Post: What 5 Baltimore tech leaders told a City Council committee
It seems like every state has its own Silicon Valley these days, including Utah. Entrepreneur and technologist Josh James, whose company Omniture sold to Adobe for nearly $2 billion, founded Silicon Slopes to promote the tech culture in his native Utah. The site is currently undergoing a redesign, so stayed tuned for a new look and feel.
Must-Read Post: Utah considers Big Data professional masters degree
GovLab, short for Governance Lab, is a research and training organization headquartered at New York University. Most of the posts are written by co-founder, chief research and development officer, and NYU adjunct professor Stefaan Verhulst, whose insightful writing makes the value of the GovLab blog abundantly clear. Check in at least monthly to read about his favorite topic: open data.
Must-Read Post: GovLab Index: The Data Universe
IT has evolved from a silo to a critical layer of productivity in government agencies. Although the focus of IBM’s Business of Government blog is on business operations, technology — such as data, security and unified communications — is becoming more important in that arena every day. This blog’s weekly roundups provide a wealth of information on timely technology topics.
Must-Read Post: Predictive Analytics: How to Prevent Crime from Happening
Greg Schulz is recognized as one of the leading minds in data center infrastructure and virtual environments. His work has appeared in a number of top technology publications, including StateTech. For in-depth, sophisticated news and insight on data centers, this blog is among the most valuable resources on the web.
Must-Read Post: How many IOPS can a HDD, HHDD or SSD do?
The IJIS Institute is a nonprofit organization that bridges the gap between local, state, tribal and federal agencies “to provide technical assistance, training, and support services for information exchange and technology initiatives.” This comprehensive blog details the organization’s exhaustive work and offers insight into topics like security and data.
Must-Read Post: The Influence of Current Events on Technological Innovation
The Gartner Blog Network, powered by more than 20 contributors, spans a wide variety of IT topics and publishes several new posts each day. A handful of thought leaders, like Anton Chuvakin and Andrew White, discuss the effect of IT on government and offer ways to leverage tech in the public sector.
Must-Read Post: Everyone is a Technology Company
Who better than a current government CIO to blog about the nuts and bolts of delivering IT solutions that actually work? Jonathan Reichental is the CIO of Palo Alto, Calif., and also happens to have a Ph.D. in information systems. For astute, useful information about technology and local government, Reichental’s blog is a must-read.
Bill Greeves has CIO experience in two different counties and has been working in IT in the public sector since 2000. In addition to blogging, he co-authored Social Media in the Public Sector Field Guide. He is an expert in the field by all accounts and a leader in the social, open-government movement.
Must-Read Post: So You Think You Want to Be A Government CIO?
The Public Technology Institute (PTI) bills itself as “the only technology organization created by and for cities and counties.” PTI’s work includes tech-related surveys, active discussion platforms and the blog. While the blog focuses mainly on the institute’s own work, it’s particularly useful for anyone involved in government IT. Check in often for updates on PTI’s event schedule and survey results.
Must-Read Post: PTI Names 2013 Web 2.0 Winning Jurisdictions
Public libraries are indispensable sources of information even in the digital age. As libraries experiment with new ways to house and supply information and access, the American Library Association’s TechSource blog explores a wide variety of tech-related ideas that can improve the way citizens use the library.
Connected objects and machine-to-machine networks are the next big thing. Pretty soon, cars will communicate with traffic lights, and your alarm clock will talk to your coffee pot. Cisco is all over the Internet of Everything, and this blog explores how connected technology will affect everything from education to commuting.
Must-Read Post: When Sensors Act Like Teenagers