The year's best news, analysis and opinion sources for state and local tech leaders.
You don’t have to search far for stellar blogs that cover state and local government IT. For the past two years, StateTech has compiled a list of the best blogs the web has to offer, and this year is no different.
Our 2014 edition of the 50 Must-Read IT Blogs includes some honorees from last year, but the majority of blogs featured are newcomers. While they may be new to our list, they have established track records in the state and local community and beyond.
These blogs offer something for everyone: IT professionals, mayors, governors, civic hackers, entrepreneurs and citizens. Some blogs may not focus solely on IT, but offer a well-rounded perspective on the role technologies such as Big Data and analytics play in shaping cities and states and improving quality of life for residents.
As in previous years, we opened up the nominations to our readers. The list of top blogs was compiled based on reader submissions and selections from our editorial team, and also includes a few selections from previous lists that remain great sources of content. (For more, you can browse through our Must-Read IT Blogs from 2012 and 2013.)
We hope you enjoy the 2014 Must-Read State and Local IT Blogs below. If your blog made this year’s list, grab a badge and share the news with your followers. For future reference, be sure to bookmark this page, share it with a friend and follow our top bloggers on social media.
When California released a cloud-first policy, the state’s Department of Technology announced the news on its blog. The department manages one of the few government-run IT blogs, and it chronicles policies and initiatives that affect the state’s multibillion-dollar budget for technology goods and services. The blog’s archives are a great resource for catching up on California’s government technology news.
Georgia is embarking on an innovation program aimed at tackling cross-agency issues and exploring new ways of doing business. GTA blog readers got the inside scoop from CIO Calvin Rhodes on what’s to come in 2015. Although you won’t find breaking news on the blog, it does offer insight on key GTA initiatives and the impact they have on citizens.
These days, it’s all about the data. Data-powered cities and data-driven strategies are the staples of today’s responsive cities. The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation initiative at Harvard’s Kennedy School offers a comprehensive perspective on how data can drive civic innovation, improve public health and boost citizen engagement.
From the latest news in state and local IT to the featured interviews with government innovators, StateScoop has readers covered. The site offers a variety of content via StateScoop Radio, StateScoop TV and one-on-one interviews with state CIOs and other C-suite executives.
Massachusetts isn’t just talking the innovation talk. State leaders are making investments and launching initiatives, and there is an entire blog dedicated to telling those stories. Similar to other states, Massachusetts is relying more on digital platforms to enhance operations and efficiencies. Gov. Deval Patrick hopes to cultivate innovation statewide through a White House–inspired fellowship program that employs highly skilled postgraduates, entrepreneurs and professionals for a one-year term. Stay tuned.
Governors, mayors, CIOs and industry experts are critical to the government IT discussion, and CivSource gets it. Editor and publisher Bailey McCann reports on timely issues that matter most to these groups. CivSource is where technology intersects with government health, policy, procurement and education.
Government Technology’s roots in the state and local IT community date back to 1987, when the magazine was launched as part of the e.Republic network. Govtech.com, the magazine’s online portal, focuses on public-sector use of emerging technologies and governing in the information age. The site offers a mix of original reporting, case studies and content from industry subject-matter experts.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has long been a resource for state CIOs, IT managers and executives. NASCIO’s annual surveys and publications offer a wealth of information about state and local IT trends and where CIOs stand on key issues, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity. On NASCIO’s blog, Mitch Herckis, director of government affairs, provides key takeaways of the latest technology news.
Chicago is positioning itself to close the digital divide and become a hub for innovation. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to bring 80,000 technology jobs to the city is part of that effort, and so is the work underway at the Smart Chicago Collaborative. The civic organization promotes access to technology, open data and education.
Code for America is known for bringing together some of the brightest minds in the country to tackle the government’s hardest problems. The organization has a track record of facilitating collaboration among government staff and empowering the community by “making government services simple, effective, and easy to use.” Check out the blog to stay current on the exciting projects underway.
If you’re looking for engaging discussions on cloud computing, mobility and security, Cisco’s Government Blog is a go-to resource. Some of the brightest minds at Cisco share best practices and successful technology implementations from across the country, blog from tech conferences and highlight the use of Cisco products by government agencies. As the company that coined the phrase “Internet of Everything,” Cisco has plenty to offer on its blog about the rise of smart cities.
Next City keeps readers engaged with diverse blog content and in-depth stories about technology, culture and infrastructure in cities across the world, especially in the U.S. The site has a stellar crew of writers and contributors who hale from well-known media organizations, including The New York Times and The Daily Beast.
Technical.ly prides itself on using technology to connect civic innovators, entrepreneurs, government agencies and the community. Its network of local blogs has expanded to include Delaware and Washington, D.C., in addition to Baltimore, Philadelphia and Brooklyn. If you’re interested in thriving cyberinitiatives and other civic projects, add Technical.ly/Baltimore to your must-read list.
Governance Lab’s mission is simple but powerful: Improve people’s lives by changing how we govern. The research organization, known as GovLab for short, is headquartered at New York University and includes an impressive roster of former Google employees and the first U.S. deputy chief technology officer. If you’re an open-data enthusiast, GovLab’s Open Data 500 project is worth following.
GovFresh founder Luke Fretwell is a civic innovator at heart, who has a keen understanding of government IT. His coverage ranges from videos and audio interviews with state and local officials to short stories and GitChats with big names, such as California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Stephen Goldsmith, a professor of practice at Harvard Kennedy School and a former mayor of Indianapolis, is the face behind Governing’s Better, Faster, Cheaper blog. Goldsmith, along with Harvard colleague Charles Chieppo and John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, offers thorough insight on pressing issues that many cities face, including infrastructure, policy and personnel.
CityLab is the new and improved relaunch of The Atlantic Cities website. An expanded editorial mission, visual storytelling and mobile-first responsive design are among the revamped features readers can expect. There’s a neat feature —CityFixer — that allows readers to search by topic for stories on common urban issues and how cities are tackling those problems.
Engaging Cities provides a wealth of information for planners, architects, local officials and communities. More than just producing content, the blog inspires these groups of people to embrace new technologies and approaches and to ultimately collaborate. Want to tell your story? Contributors are encouraged to share their research, ideas, experiments and successes with engaging planning.
Community broadband and Gigabit Internet services are hot topics in local government. Crafting policies that govern these services isn’t easy, and that’s where Community Broadband Networks comes in. The organization partners with U.S. communities to ensure “networks serve the community rather than a community serving the network.” If you’re looking for all things community broadband, you’ve found the right blog.
Stateline produces fresh daily content on state policy related to healthcare, demographics and the business of government. The blog is produced by The Pew Charitable Trusts and boasts an abundance of original reporting that is a must-read for those who follow local government issues. Sign up for the Stateline Daily Email for quick access to top stories.
Follow: @PewStates | Read the blog: pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline
New York City is making it easier for startups and investors to find each other and for tech companies to connect with qualified job seekers through a new online platform: Digital.NYC. The site includes job listings, a compilation of top tech news from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Wired, The New York Times and other publications, an interactive events calendar and a database of nearly 6,000 startups, 160 investors, 3,000 jobs and counting.
GovDelivery is all about government-to-citizen digital communication, and it has the track record to prove it. The organization has become synonymous with government events and webinars, but it offers much more. Stop by the GovDelivery blog for tips on digital government and innovation, recaps of public-sector conferences and current events that affect government employees.
The National Association of Counties has been committed to serving the interests of county governments since 1935. The association’s County Solutions and Innovation Blog provides a well-rounded view of pertinent news for more than 3,000 of the nation’s counties. Blog posts derive from NACo reports, current events and podcast interviews with subject-matter experts.
Government Executive has expanded its media reach with a new online state and local offering. Readers can expect the same intriguing stories about government operations, but with a focus on agencies and initiatives at the state and local levels. Coverage on federal management and technology issues is only a click away on the same website.
What better way to hear about smart city projects worldwide than from the people on the ground making those projects a reality. The blog tracks the adventures of IBM employees as they travel the world, collaborate with governments and tackle projects to improve city living for residents. IBMers aren’t all work and no fun: Their humor and adventurous spirits are sprinkled throughout each post and photo.
Curate smart ideas. Connect changemakers. Catalyze change. That’s CEOs for Cities in a nutshell. CEOs, mayors, entrepreneurs, learning institutions and nonprofits make up CEOs for Cities’ network of thought leaders. Check out this blog for engaging stories about building smart and sustainable cities.
Everyone in state and local government is talking about the next big thing in public safety: a nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to first responders. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) was created to lead this effort. FirstNet employees operate a robust blog, with frequent updates on what has happened and what’s coming next. Definitely keep this blog on your radar.
This public-sector blog is a great resource for staying current on technology and procurement policy at the state and local levels. The site tracks tech-related legislation and explains the potential impact of those bills. You’ll also find a few thought-provoking commentaries from Carol Henton, vice presid¬ent for State, Local & Education, Public Sector for the Information Technology Industry Council, the umbrella organization for ITAPS.
Technology is no longer viewed as a back-office resource, but as a tool for driving innovation and open government. The nonprofit Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s blog and op-eds make that clear and touch on a variety of issues that intersect with technology, including energy and climate and U.S. competitiveness.
Government officials are serious about bringing next-generation broadband Internet to their cities. That burning desire has united mayors from 32 cities under a single organization: Next Century Cities. The Next Century Cities blog is in its infancy but already includes success stories from member cities. Check back for best practices and updates on virtual events.
“PublicStuff is different because it uses the frictionless model, which developers like, to help people understand how their government works and how they can help their government work better,” according to The New York Times. Follow the discussion on the PublicStuff blog, which is sure to inform and inspire you.
When it comes to government technology, North Carolina is unlike most states: It has a working lab, where state employees, students and private industry can test technology before they buy it. Now, that’s innovation! Hear directly from the state’s top technology officials on the North Carolina Innovation Center blog, and browse the site to learn about current projects.
The Brookings Institution’s TechTank blog is where policy meets science and technology. The blog explores how developments in these policy areas affect healthcare, education, economic development and more.
Technology alone won’t solve transportation issues in big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Streetsblog USA is doing its part to promote sustainable transportation and livable communities. Transportation experts and members of Congress and the administration frequent the blog. For city specific coverage, visit Streetsblog New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
American City & County has served the state and local government community for more than a century. In addition to its wide range of government-related topics, American City & County also has a YouTube channel. Cloud computing, broadband and mobility are a few of the tech topics offered on the website.
This blog is an information goldmine for cities on the road to economic recovery and growth. The National Resource Network works with cities to implement solutions that will help cities their local economies. The Insights blog provides tips and best practices from government thought-leaders and industry experts.
Intellitics CEO and founder Tim Bonnemann is all about helping public- and private-sector organizations use technology to improve public participation and collaborative governance. His blog shares interesting takeaways from conferences and workshops geared toward technology and community engagement with government.
Accela has made a name for itself in the government space and today works with more than 800 public-sector agencies worldwide to streamline management, licensing and other processes. Find out how technology is powering local government transformations on the Accela Insights blog.
Governing’s award-winning coverage is a staple in the state and local government community and a resource for tracking how governing has evolved in the information age. The site is a go-to source for government officials looking for the latest developments in technology, health, energy and information on how their counterparts across the country are approaching pressing issues.
The nonprofit New Cities Foundation is focused on improving cities not just in America but also around the world. The foundation’s blog is dedicated to sharing the stories of rising cities and urban innovation and mobility. Stories also include highlights from the foundation’s global events, which feature U.S. state and local officials as well as representatives from academia and the private sector.
The Knight Blog is the brainchild of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which is synonymous with building strong communities. You’ll find stories from Knight Foundation staff and from guest bloggers who represent other foundations, journalism organizations and projects that Knight Foundation funds. The blog offers diverse stories of civic, educational, technological and public-saftey programs that are transforming U.S. cities.
If you’re interested in Big Data, open data, apps and dashboards, then the #LocalGov Technology Alliance blog is for you. Find out what these technologies mean for local governments, and glean insights on how to adopt these tools into your enterprise. The alliance is a joint initiative between GIS mapping software company Esri and the International City/County Management Association.
While the McAfee blog isn’t dedicated solely to government security issues, it does offer cybersecurity news of interest to state and local agencies. The blog is easy to navigate and allows readers to quickly home in on trending security topics, such as cybercrime, malware and identity theft. You can also read updates from McAfee Labs or filter story selections based on executive perspectives, business-related news and consumer issues.
GCN’s state and local coverage answers the hows and whats for public-sector IT professionals: What are the key performance gains? What is the return on investment? How does it solve a unique public sector issue? GCN is a product of 1105 Media, which also publishes FCW and Washington Technology.
Did you know that Omaha, Neb., was named the top tech-friendly city for professionals? The state has a nine-member commission that provides advice, strategic direction and accountability for the state’s IT investments. Technology enthusiasts should definitely keep the Nebraska Information Technology Commission’s website on their radar.
Innovation embodies more than just technology, and the Innovation Hub covers multiple angles: science and technology, business and education. There’s a filter on the blog that allows readers to focus on innovation in the science and technology arena. Blog articles include audio stories from the Innovation Hub radio show.
The bright minds behind the Department of Better Technology know firsthand the challenges of driving open government. The company’s leadership team includes a former Presidential Innovation Fellow and a founder of the firm that built and managed President Barack Obama’s online campaign for the 2008 presidential election. On the Department of Better Technology blog are stories about enhancing the citizen experience and new software applications the firm has developed to help governments and nonprofits better serve their communities.
Innovation Excellence prides itself on being the “online home of the global innovation community.” The site boasts more than 225,000 unique visits and requests and more than 800,000 page views each month. See what best practices and resources Innovation Excellence has to offer.
Few states and cities have technology blogs, and Seattle is one of them. Tech Talk keeps tabs on the city’s IT strategies, initiatives and investments and explains the impact on residents and state employees. The Seattle Department of Technology doesn’t post often, but when it does, you should pay attention.
The name says it all. Information Technology in Local Government is one of several blogs published by the International City/County Management Association and focuses on IT at the state and local levels. The main contributor is Jerry Schulz, a 34-year IT management veteran. Schulz is a former county IT manager and now serves as vice president of the consulting firm GovHR USA.