A few days at the Aspen Ideas Festival

07/13/2010 12:38 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Okay, I haven't recovered yet from the Aspen Ideas Festival, too many interesting people and genuinely valuable panel sessions. I tried to do my part; here's a very narrowly focused take; another can be found at AspenSpin.


(The photos here also illustrate my fondness for the flora and fauna of Aspen; you'll note that I'm a fan of  Corvids, not only Magpies but Crows and Ravens. Note that you can click on the photos for larger versions.)

In a way, almost too thought provoking, here's one example, a really big deal for me...

P1010681-1 The session on social media and journalism was a really big deal for me
, included David Kirkpatrick, Vivian Schiller, Arianna Huffington, and Strauss Zelnick. The deal is that social media really is having a deep effect on what really matters in journalism, particularly needs for more investigative journalism, and lots more factchecking. Arianna quoted someone saying "trust is the new black", and even better:

Strauss: "The community is the message." (I need to think more about that.)

Kirkpatrick: "Social media is a truth serum for mainstream media."

These guys really made me think.

That led to my premiering a new phrase at a panel I shared with Vivek Kundra, who's the CIO of the whole US. He's figuring out how to better deal with Federal computer systems to provide better service at much lower cost, focusing on better return for the taxpayer dollar.

The new phrase: "the immune system of democracy" referring to the role of the press in the survival of democracy. We're seeing the emergence of a network of factcheckers to complement the traditional press, like,, and the Center for Media and Democracy ( and

My panel was documented by James Fallows at the Atlantic, where he also deems me the Bob Newhart of the Internet.
Bob-newhart-thumb-150x285-29292 (Usually, I'm the Forrest Gump of the Net.) (The gf reminds me that I'm not as funny as I think I am.)

A good piece by Eric Kuhn from CNN talks about my work regarding accountability and transparency in Congress. However, it gives me way too much credit, which should go to the members of the Transparency Caucus and Sunlight Foundation.

P1010679-1 My deal is that plenty happened at the Festival, my head's still swimming, and it might be a very long time before I digest it and then realize what happened.