In a recent column, Indianapolis Star Executive Editor Dennis Ryerson announced a push to post public data online. Here’s what he had to say in response to some questions by ICOG.
ICOG: Do other Gannett papers post public databases?
Ryerson: Most are but some more than others. We’ve been paying attention to Newspaper Next work, independent of Gannett, which is helping shape a direction for newspapers so we don’t die.
ICOG: Will there eventually be a charge for the data?
Ryerson: No, but if we can find a way to monetize the information by placing an online ad alongside it, we will.
ICOG: How will The Star proof or check deficiencies in the data provided?
Ryerson: Mark Nichols on our staff reviews databases. Also, we will rely on the public to catch errors.
ICOG: In your experience, what’s the best way to post data for best use by readers?
Ryerson: We’re still working through this. We want information that is easy to find and access. We’re still inventing this.
ICOG: Have you generally received more pro comments based on disclosure or those favoring non-disclosure?
Ryerson: Gun owners hate me, and account for the majority, and strongly no, comments.
ICOG: Does Indiana’s records law need to be tweaked and put in better form for projects like these? If so, what would be your recommendations for improvement?
Ryerson: No. The biggest problem is the sorry lack of technology in this backward state. It’s really frustrating, at the state and local levels.
ICOG: Also, who should readers contact directly for suggestions to add data online?
Ryerson: Bob Jonason is heading our database team.
If you have suggestions for more information to post in a consumer friendly format, please contact Dennis Ryerson at firstname.lastname@example.org.