Mark Stencel was previously GOVERNING's executive editor and deputy publisher. He is currently the managing editor for digital news at National Public Radio.

Mark Stencel
June 24, 2009

Calling All Cars

The digital-TV switchover is supposed to provide big benefits for public-safety communications. But many of those benefits may be years away.

Not-So-High-Speed Rail

One of the most expensive flops in television history was "Supertrain", a show about a 200-mile-per-hour, nuclear-powered locomotive -- a landlocked "Love Boat" with celebrity...

Dot-Gov'ing Life: Three Little Words

Lots of state and local techies are gathering with their federal brethren here in Washington for Government 2.0 Camp, an "unconference" on using technology ...

Stimulating Technology: The Award For Best Special Effects Goes to... (updated)

Forget the Hollywood red carpet at tonight's Oscars ceremony. The best spot for political star gazing today was the J.W. Marriott on Pennsylvania ...

Speaking of Speakers

Governing recognized Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff as a Public Official of the Year last month for his "unflagging commitment to bipartisan comity," ...

Gov. O'Malley's "Omni-partisan" Approach

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's "intensely statistics-based approach to governance" was the subject of the latest article in Jonathan Walters's ongoing Citizens and Performance ...

Life Is Tweet

Some imaginative government offices across the country --  from the L.A. Fire Department to the U.S. Senate -- are experimenting with ways ...

Can E-Government Increase Crime?

Fairfax County is experiencing what amounts to a crime wave for this generally affluent Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. But is it an actual ...

Spinning the Web

Ric Cantrell, chief deputy of the Utah state Senate, offered his take last month during a panel I moderated at the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual meeting in New Orleans.

Where to Get "Grande" Ideas for Government

I have a big idea for Starbucks. OK, it's at least a "tall" idea: a drink-to-own policy. Instead of the frequent-drinker cards offered ...
July 1, 2008

The Web at Work (Part 2)

I'm told my May column was naïve about the security threats and challenges that come when public employees troll the Web at work.

That and a Cup of Coffee Gets You... Wi-Fi?

A visit to the cafe at Portland's famous Powell's Books last week gave me a chance to log on to MetroFi's free wireless Internet service. ...

Building a Better Mouse Trap

from Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle Making Web sites and other electronic interfaces easier to use needs to be more than an aesthetic afterthought. ...

Untangling Philadelphia's Wireless Mess

Philadelphia got plenty of attention when former Mayor John F. Street launched his city's ambitious efforts to provide low-cost wireless Internet access to its citizens. ...
May 1, 2008

At Work on the Web

State and local agencies often block employee access to entire categories of online content, from politics to porn.

Capitol Improvements in Cheyenne

The Wyoming state capitol has been through a lot since Casper Star-Tribune reporter Joan Barron first started covering the legislature 37 years ago, including an earthquake, ...

Off Beat in Connecticut's Capitol

The Journal-Register Co. in Connecticut has axed its last full-time Capitol reporter, veteran New Haven Register political writer Greg Hladky.

What's In Your Wallet?

The Sacramento Bee is learning what several other news organizations already knew: The salaries of government employees may be public information, but the employees really hate it when you make it public.
March 1, 2008

Forging an Open Stream

Local governments stream their meetings over the Internet, and index the video using searchable agendas.

Technology Metes Out Parking Meter Justice

A friend of mine once interrupted a presentation to his company's board of directors to run outside and move his car because he was running ...

The Long Link of the Law

To paraphrase the famous introduction of an old black-and-white crime drama, there are a thousand stories in the Naked City -- and nowadays there's a ...

Are You Ready for Your Close Up?

Who doesn't like to watch a guy skiing down a subway escalator or a reporter getting an on-air taser demonstration? But streaming video is not just the domain of amateurs posting homemade masterpieces and snippets of TV programs.
January 1, 2008

Beyond Wi-Fi

It's time for local, state and federal leaders to focus on making the U.S. more competitive when it comes to broadband.

All Aboard

Charlotte, NC's first light-rail line opened for business over the weekend, and the initial reviews are good. The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) gave reporters ...

A Vote for Better Design

A year of electronic forensics has failed to resolve what went wrong at the polls in Florida's Sarasota County last November, when 18,000 voters mysteriously appeared...

Bare-Knuckle Gentility

Every summer, but especially in off-year election seasons like this one, the Mississippi state capitol moves to a dusty fairground in Neshoba County. The unofficial...

The Elusive Long-Timer

David Litchliter is an unusual creature in state government - a longtime chief information officer, whose 13 years on the job make him as rare as...

Bench Brawl

In Nevada, it's sometimes hard to tell the judge from the accused.

Capability Gap

Machines are part of the digital divide problem. Lack of knowledge is a bigger part.

Demographic Storm

The natural disasters of 2005 may spawn political hurricanes in 2010.

Payroll Peeking

Government salaries have always been public record. But not the way they are now.

Telecommuting Hits The Road

Internet access on buses and subways can turn car-centric commuters into mass transit riders--if the technology works.

Press 1 to Self-Destruct

With voice mail, what you say can and will be used against you. Take the case of former Florida state Representative Ralph Arza, who recently...

Making a Splash

The technology staff for Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County recently deployed a sophisticated new piece of hardware - a collaboration tool, known to many carnival-goers...

Broadband's Buzzwords

The difference between my cable company and my telephone company has become a bit blurry. My cable provider wants me to drop my phone company...

The Open-Minded Desktop

Any technology leader who still doubts that open-source solutions are a viable alternative to Microsoft's desktop dominance needs to visit one of the six branches...
November 1, 2006

Addicted To Data

Policy makers are demanding unified databases, but mixing and matching data are more difficult than they think.

The Persistence of Paper

Despite all the advances in online services, e-governments are still stuck in the paper chase.
May 1, 2006

Driven to License

A federal mandate that states love to hate, Real ID may also harbor some hidden opportunities.
March 1, 2006

The Customer Rules

If I ever go fresh-water fishing with my nephews in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I'll have a state license. Not that I'm much of an angler. I'm a great indoors type who knows more about electronic "phishing" scams than pond fishing for crappie. But thanks to Alabama's e- government initiative, I can sit at home in Virginia and click to an Alabama Web form to purchase a non-resident fishing license.
January 1, 2006

A Simple Solution

Success can depend as much on tweaking the way people use tools as on what those tools are.