|First BlogPac Progressive Entrepreneurs Contest Winners
- Precinct Map and Voting History Online Application, submitted by Chad Lupkes, 46th District representative of the King County Democratic Party in Washington State. This is a project to map every precinct in the state of Washington, along with providing information on how each precinct voted in key elections. Over time, this project has a goal of expanding across the entire nation, and I think it could also potentially be used for letting people know which precincts nationwide need someone to be the local precinct captain. In other words, this project has the potential to map every precinct in America, and make that information available to Democratic and progressive activists nationwide. The project has already mapped every precinct in King County, Washington, and you can see what this look like by clicking here.
- The Candidate Source internet video project, submitted by Brian Amos on behalf of CandidateSource.com. Candidate Source is a project to transcribe and catalog political content found on video sharing sites like YouTube, including stump speeches, debates, and interviews. It will be launched on September 1st, and create a free, large, fully searchable database of political video featuring speeches and interviews with both Democratic and Republican candidates. Anyone will be able to search for video by the candidates who appear in it, topics discussed, or quotes contained in it. Once launched, progressive activists will be able to find particularly eloquent or explanatory speeches from her or his favorite candidates, and also to check for inconsistency in opposing candidates. Further, bloggers, mainstream media, or even an average citizen will be able to easily compare candidate stances on a certain issue. This project will help further engage people-powered activism in American politics.
- Black Agenda Report, submitted by Glen Ford on behalf of The Black Agenda Report. The Black Agenda Report is a weekly magazine that turns a critical eye on African-American institutions, and also one of the centers of the emerging African-American blogosphere. Black Agenda Report has created the political space to critique Black institutions, while also projecting an internationalist worldview that is rooted in the most progressive currents of historical African American thought and practice. It has also engaged in institution building of its own through Congressional Black Caucus monitor, the first and only organization to methodically grade Black congresspersons based on the standards of the historical Black Political Consensus. With broadband usage among African-Americans skyrocketing, providing more sustainable funding to the Black Agenda Report will help it become an important, online center for the progressive blogosphere over the long term. The BlogPac grant will help put the Black Agenda report on secure financial footing over the long-term, as well as help launch the Black Agenda Review of Books, which will add yet another dimension to the political dialogue.
- Blogging the Statehouse, Jersey Style, submitted by Jay Lassiter on behalf of Blue Jersey. One of the nation's premier local blogs, Blue Jersey, currently pays a blogger, Jay Lassiter to directly cover political happenings in the state legislature in Trenton. Even though he does so with quality that is on par with, or superior to, any other journalist in New Jersey, currently Jay is paid a very unprogressive salary of $600 a month. The BlogPac grant will allow this position to become sustainable over the long-term, and also allow Blue Jersey to pay an intern to assist with this first-rate, state level blogging work.
- BlogsUnited, submitted by Kid Oakland on behalf of Blogs United. In case you are unfamiliar with the organization, BlogsUnited describes itself as follows:
BlogsUnited is a currently unincorporated online organization by and for local and regional progressive bloggers and online activists with 250 members. We exist to provide a useful and relevant source of information and communication for progressive bloggers working locally. BlogsUnited is committed to serving local and regional-oriented progressive bloggers and blogs. We currently do this through a Wiki, a Google Group, social networking nodes on Facebook, DFA link, and a nascent Soapblox Blog. Our organizing ethos puts an emphasis on inclusion, openness and economic, regional and ethnic diversity. Yearlykos 2007 provided the first face-to-face meeting opportunity for this organization and also involved BlogsUnited taking the first steps towards organizing itself as a legal entity.
Supporting an organization like BlogsUnited, which exists entirely to support and expand the progressive blogosphere, is something BlogPac could not be happier to do.
- Additionally, even though only five winners were originally slated for this program BlogPac will present an award to the submission, SoapBlox Security Upgrade, by pacified of SoapBlox Network, Inc. However, instead of coming directly through the Infrastructure Contest, it will be part of the 50 state blog network program in which BlogPac has engaged in over the past seven months. Almost all of the more than 40 local blogs in the network operate on SoapBlox, and at BlogPac we would be remiss if we did not work to make sure that these local blogs are safe from malicious, online server attacks. We need to keep emerging, local progressive communities online, and that means making sure that SoapBlox is not only operational, but that it has rock solid defenses.
With so many great ideas, choosing these was by no means an easy decision. In addition to congratulating the winners, and thanking everyone who submitted and entry, I want to thank the judges and transcribers who worked so hard to help make this project a reality.
Also, I don't want this contest to be a one-off event. Over these past five weeks, I have seen so many great proposals, that I wish we had money to fund them all. There are were proposals to help more bloggers receive health insurance, to allow any individual to produce and test micro-targeted progressive political advertisements, to produce a series of videos to train grassroots progressives about how campaigns work and how they can find work on them, to connect freelance progressive activists to progressive campaigns and organizations, to produce a national progressive political events calendar, to grow numerous local and topical blogospheres and activist scenes, to build archives of professional and user generated progressive television advertisements, to build progressive radio, to better track progressive legislation in Congress, and much, much more. Dozens of the submissions we received deserve a chance to take flight. These are the sort of ideas that can further strengthen the progressive movement by making virtually all activists in the movement more politically effective.
However, as you can see from our our most recent FEC filing, the truth is that BlogPac only had $25,943 in the bank on June 30th. Also, we have spent some money since that time in order to maintain operations, including putting together this contest. These six grants alone total $20,665 (different organizations asked for different amounts of money), and thus will basically drain us of funds. No matter how many great ideas there are, there is only so much we can give right now. We are giving everything we have, and unless we raise more money, we simply cannot fund anymore of the great ideas coming from the netroots.
So, in addition to congratulating the winners, today I am asking you to become a stakeholder in the effort to help seed the progressive grassroots. Let's make this contest a regular event held at least every other month, and keep building progressive, grassroots infrastructure. By contributing to BlogPac, you ensure that the infrastructure all activists in the progressive movement need to be more effective is being built. By becoming a regular contributor of $10 a month or more to BlogPac, you guarantee yourself a regular vote on how we will distribute these grants in the future. In every subsequent contest, as netroots stakeholders regular BlogPac donors will have a vote to decide which projects receive half of the grant money in these contests.
Congratulate the winners, and become a netroots stakeholder by making a regular contribution to BlogPac. Raising $5,000 today would be a great start, as it means we could give out one more full-size grant.
Update (8:45 pm eastern): We currently have 9 new donors, for $261 (some of those donors are recurring, so it is actually a little more). That is a start, but I know we can do better. Please, let's keep this going, and build more progressive infrastructure.
Update 2 (10:40 pm eastern): 18 donors and $715. Thank you so much! Things are starting to pick up. Let's keep it going!