It was a year ago this afternoon, when the pages of a new website called Breaking Gov began propagating across the Internet, offering a fresh perspective on the business of government.
As we pause briefly to celebrate our first anniversary, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the growing number of readers who have discovered Breaking Gov’s distinctive brand of coverage.
We’d also like to express our special appreciation to the many contributors and advisors who have shared their distinct points of view and expertise about what’s working and what’s not in government – and for helping Breaking Gov continue to shine a spotlight on innovation at work in the federal government.
We’re reminded of one of the first articles to appear on Breaking Gov, by Internet evangelist and Google vice president, Vint Cerf, who, in discussing the ingredients for leaders to foster innovation in government, astutely observed: “Progress doesn’t happen unless somebody is discontented.”
We’re also reminded of a cogent article contributed by Admiral Thad Allen, on the value of public servants, who asserted: “In the current political climate and discourse over the national debt, we have done a poor job of distinguishing between the need for fiscal responsibility and the value of public service, which is enduring.”
Both articles capture a certain essence of what it means to work in the federal government: Namely, for all its problems, its lumbering bureaucracy, its endless regulations, there remains a remarkable spirit among so many public servants who are in fact, succeeding in delivering a greater good for the nation.
Most Americans don’t see it that way. They see the intractable partisanship, the chronic stories of waste and abuse, the inability to get much, if anything done in Washington.
We at Breaking Gov, of course, see a different perspective as we attempt to chronicle some of the innovative accomplishments taking root in a variety of pockets across the federal government.
If there’s any doubt, we encourage readers to revisit just some of the profiles of this year’s finalists of the 2012 Service to America Medal Awards, made possible by the Partnership for Public Service.
That said, we also see our share of failings in government: the unfulfilled promises, the endless rhetoric and the maddening duplication of efforts across the federal landscape and cringe with the rest our fellow citizens when agencies just plain blow it.
That’s why we were also pleased to carry Mark Forman’s piece, “What the Feds Know About Cutting Waste and Why They Don’t Succeed,” among other critiques.
For our part, we’ve tried to bring some innovation of our own to the government community.
Breaking Gov is part of a broader – and we’d like to think, disruptive – experiment at AOL called Breaking Industry. Together with our sister sites, Breaking Defense and Breaking Energy, we recognize that the one-to-many publishing model of old has been usurped by a new, more dynamic many-to-many information-sharing model that is redefining how content reaches readers. According to some research gathered by AOL, 23% of social media messages include links to content, amounting to millions of pieces of content shared each day.
So we’d like to add a final thanks to those among our readers who not only find our content meaningful and relevant, but who also take the time to share it, wherever they find us – be it via our presence on LinkedIn Today, Facebook or @aolgov on Twitter or our newsletter – and who ultimately help accelerate the proliferation of timely ideas.
Wyatt Kash is Editorial Director of Breaking Gov.