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Archive for July 21st, 2009

DorobekInsider: The first draft from the Open Government and Innovations conference

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They say that journalism is the first draft of history. Well, with the transparency and openness out there these days, my guess is that most journalism is actually the second draft of history… with Tweets being the first draft. That being said, I mentioned earlier that this morning that I was 1105 Government Information Group’s Open Government and Innovation conference. And, as I do at these conferences, I post my notes in a public way (with the caveat that these are only notes).

The 1105 team had two screens featuring tweets for the event — what a great way to share thoughts in real time. And the use of the #ogi hashtag showed up on Twitter today.

There was a lot of good stuff in the morning sessions — I had to get back to Federal News Radio to do the radio show. But I wanted to post some initial thoughts as soon as possible… and hopefully there will be additional analysis to come…

* Dave Wennergren, deputy CIO at the Defense Department

Wennergren [bio in PDF] is one of the CIO rock stars — a real leader in the government IT community for his vision, intelligence, passion, and vision. And Wennergren has been one of the leaders in having the government experiment with collaborative technologies. And he gave a rousing introduction to the conference this morning. (I’ll post the audio when I have more time.)

Some bullet points from Wennergren’s speech:

* “Relentlessly sharing is what the world is going to be all about”
* Self-inflicted denial of service attack: There is a real need to balance security and collaborative technologies. Security is absolutely essential, but if security becomes too strict, it ends up becoming a “self-inflicted denial of service attack.”
* On transparency: He said that in some ways, transparency ends up being management by embarrassment. Of course, it can also be management by showing off the best and the brightest.
* Book mentioned: The book that was the first meeting of the Federal News Radio Book ClubThe SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey.
* Book mentioned: Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems by Barry Johnson

Still to come… bullet points on Obama CTO Aneesh Chopra’s presentation this morning… and publisher Tim O’Reilly, the creator of the term Web 2.0.

DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

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DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

The worst kept secret in town is now official — Roll Call newspaper’s parent company, The Economist Group, today announced that it is buying the Congressional Quarterly group. Here is the AP story.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The owner of Roll Call is buying Congressional Quarterly in a deal that will bring two well-known publications covering Capitol Hill and Washington politics under the same corporate umbrella.

Terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed.

Read slightly more here.

Here is the release:

Roll Call Acquires Congressional Quarterly

New CQ-Roll Call Group to be Leading Provider of Comprehensive Information on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Roll Call Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Roll Call, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, will purchase CQ to form a new company to be known as the CQ-Roll Call Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Congressional Quarterly to Roll Call,” said Laurie Battaglia, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Roll Call Group, who will become the executive leader of the new merged enterprise.

“The new CQ-Roll Call Group will have the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington and will be the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress,” Battaglia said. “CQ and Roll Callare both highly regarded for unbiased, authoritative journalism and excellence.”

“The Times Publishing Company takes great pride in the success of Congressional Quarterly, and takes great pleasure in knowing that it has a very bright future as part of The Economist Group,” said Paul Tash, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Times. He said the Times is retaining its Governing Magazine division in D.C.

Each company has a storied and distinct history covering Congress and Washington politics and policy. Since 1945, CQ has been the “publication of record” providing factual, unbiased coverage of congressional activity. In recent years, CQ has been at the forefront of developing Internet services that provide real-time intelligence on the workings of Congress.

Roll Call, founded in 1955 and acquired by the Economist Group in 1992, has been at the center of the Capitol Hill community providing a look into the people, politics and personalities that drive the legislative process. This focus on community has led to strategic expansion into trade association-based grassroots mobilization with the acquisition of Capitol Advantage in 2008.

The CQ-Roll Call Group intends to maintain each company’s unique editorial voice, and thus there are no current plans to eliminate any products. In addition, the great majority of the CQ staff will join the merged organization.

Robert W. Merry, President and Editor-in-Chief of CQ for the past 12 years, will not be retained by the merged company. “As in many such instances of two companies coming together,” Merry said, “one CEO inevitably becomes extraneous. In this situation, that’s me.” He will pursue other publishing and journalistic opportunities.

Congressional Quarterly was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media, information, marketing services and related technology industries.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.

About Roll Call Group
Founded in 1955, Roll Call Group is the leading news source for coverage of the people, politics and personalities that shape the legislative landscape. From the daily Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, to the grassroots mobilization product, CapwizXC, Roll Call Group provides its readers with the tools, data and access they need to understand and influence Congress. Visit for more information.

About Congressional Quarterly
With more than 160 reporters, editors and researchers covering Capitol Hill and Washington, CQ keeps policy professionals and opinion leaders updated in print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. CQ’s award-winning product line includes: CQ Weekly, CQ Today,, CQ Politics, CQ Homeland Security, CQ Budget Tracker, CQ HealthBeat, CQ MoneyLine, CQ Transcripts and CQ StateTrack. Founded in 1945, CQ has a rich history of providing comprehensive, credible and objective information on Congress, politics and public policy. For more information, visit or

About The Economist Group
The publications and services delivered under The Economist brand are The Economistmagazine,, Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences, The World Inand Intelligent Life. The Group’s other brands include: CFO, a publication for senior finance executives; EuroFinance, a cash and treasury management event business; and Roll Call Group (including Capitol Advantage) and European Voice (aimed at decision-makers on Capitol Hill and Brussels respectively). The Economist Group is privately owned. For more information, visit

About Times Publishing Company
The Times Publishing Company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it publishes Florida’s largest daily newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, the winner of eight Pulitzer prizes. The Times also offers Governing Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, the free daily tbt*/Tampa Bay Times, the award-winning web site, the web portal, and specialty publications including local weeklies and niche products. For more information, visit

There are several interesting stories in here, not the least of which is the growing battle between Roll Call and Politico, which has grown into a power house… and actually, it is more like Politico against Roll Call and the Washington Post and The Hill…. (If you didn’t read the story in Vanity Fair about Politico… it is a fascinating read.)

Another may have been answered already: The Mike Mills question. Politico reports that Laurie Battaglia, managing director of Roll Call Group, will oversee the merged enterprise. Battaglia said that there are no plans to eliminate any print brands, since they are profitable and have “separate, distinct voices.” But Politico says that there are plans to integrate the newsrooms over the next 18 months. And… Mike Mills will get a post that he was passed over previously. Mills, who formerly was with CQ then went to the Washington Business Journal before joining Roll Call, will become editorial director of the combined newsroom.

Meanwhile CQ editor-in chief Bob Merry will be leaving.

But many of us will also be watching what The Economist/Roll Call does with Governing magazine, which has covered the state and local market. The state and local market has been… what is worse then awful?

And while neither side is saying anything official, we will also likely start hearing numbers. The buzz is that there weren’t many bidders… and those bids came is well under what Times Publishing Company had expected.

Many things to watch as this deal moves forward.

Written by cdorobek

July 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: Attending the Open Government conference Tuesday morning

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On Tuesday morning, I am attending 1105 Government Information Group’s Open Government conference. I don’t know if the event ended up being profitable, but… they have put together a very good line-up.

(NOTE: 1105 asked if I would record calls that went out to 1105’s list — you may have received one. I should note that I didn’t get paid for doing it. I did it because I think the conversation is valuable and I hope they get a good turn out.)

I will only be there for the morning so I can get back to Federal News Radio 1500 AM and work on the Daily Debrief. That being said, I want to see Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, who will be joining us later this month for the Federal News Radio Book Club on July 31 discussing Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation. I also am very much looking forward to seeing Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, the person credited with creating the term Web 2.0. O’Reilly Media, of course, is also sponsoring the Gov 2.0 Summit in September, which I hear has a really stellar line-up.

I also want to stay the session titled Web 2.0 & National Security. As I have said as recently as today talking about Intellipedia and A-Space, this is a fascinating area — and, in many ways, the intelligence community is way ahead of everybody else. So… I look forward to the panel. (Two of the panelists, Mark Drapeau and Linton Wells, both of the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, have written a paper looking at Web 2.0 and national security. You can read that paper hereHear Drapeau talk about it here.)

As I usually do, I will be posting my raw notes from Tuesday morning’s sessions. You can read them here as I am taking them — assuming I have Internet connection, of course.

On the top of my notes, I post this editor’s note:

EDITOR’S NOTE: These are notes. They are provided for informational purposes but should NOT be seen as a verbatim transcript of the event. That is not the intent. The idea is that information is power — and that information is more powerful when it is shared. That being said, it also requires people assess the information that they receive. Raw, unanalyzed information is probably less accurate then information that has been prepared, edited and assessed in some formal way. All of that being said, I believe that information is power — and therefore I am sharing it.

It is sometimes interesting to me how people will sometimes don’t fully assess information. Raw information at times can be more accurate, but generally, it gets better as we think, ponder and analyze. So… take the notes for what they are worth — they are my notes. And I’ll try and post my thoughts about the sessions as soon as I can… and I can’t wait to compare notes with others… and we hope that it all furthers the discussion.

I will be tweeting about the session too using #oig. I look forward to following others at the conference.

Written by cdorobek

July 21, 2009 at 12:09 AM