When I first came to D.C., in 2010 for a new reporting job, I had what appeared to be the least popular beat in the newsroom: federal information technology.
Most readers weren’t flocking to our website to read about the government’s technology budget, or the increase in cyberattacks against their work computers. They wanted to read about issues affecting their pay and benefits and all things Postal Service.
I didn’t blame them. Money matters are serious business. Plus, government IT seemed like a different world — one reserved for computer nerds and the people who resolve helpdesk issues. In many ways it still does, thanks to technical jargon and mysterious terms like cloud computing and big data.
I’ll never forget my former editor’s advice. He told me at the end of the day I wasn’t writing about technology; I was writing about people. People want to know how technology affects them, their jobs and the way they work.
As I settle into my new role as Technology Writer at GovLoop, that’s the value I hope to bring all government employees. My goal is to demystify IT and make it relevant for all govies. I’ve been working with my current boss for the past few weeks and gleaning valuable feedback from civil servants to lay the foundation for a new bi-weekly GovLoop series launching on Tuesday. It’s called “The Intersection.”
Why “The Intersection?
I have my boss to thank for that. I was explaining to her my vision for this series and mentioned I want to cover stories at the intersection of people and technology.
How will this blog be different from existing IT coverage?
This blog isn’t necessarily geared toward an IT audience. If there’s one takeaway from the massive Office of Personnel Management breach, it’s that IT is more than a chief executive problem or a congressional problem. When systems malfunction, or you can’t access your work on the go or that clunky software application is not meeting your needs, those become workforce challenges that affect everyone.
Consider this blog the bridge that connects you (the tech user) with the tech innovators and policy makers. I vow to keep things as simple as I can without watering down the issue. One of our featured GovLoop bloggers refers to this as the sweet spot.
What topics will be covered?
In launching this blog, I thought about what we at GovLoop can offer that no one else can and why a reader would choose this IT blog over others on the Web. Our goal is to help you do your job better, and we know that technology is and will continue to play a big role in your success. This blog will take topics you’ve likely heard of — cloud computing, big data, cybersecurity, digital services — and present them in an easy-to-understand way. We want our information to be informative, actionable and, yes, inspiring.
This blog isn’t focused on breaking news — there’s a lot of that on the Web. What I can guarantee is thoughtful stories that take the announcement a step further. For example, we’ve written several stories about the now infamous OPM breach, but with a slightly different spin.
The first official blog post launches on June 30, so make sure you check out GovLoop.com tomorrow. The next post will be July 14 and every two weeks thereafter.
I have several story topics in the queue, but I want this blog to be interactive and a reflection of what you want to read. I welcome story ideas, questions and feedback to help make this blog your go-to resource for government IT. I’ve already heard from a few of you, so keep the dialogue flowing. To read coverage, use GovLoop's search feature at the top right corner of the site and type in "The Intersection."
You can reach me directly at [email protected].