The Internet was supposed to provide a way to make everyone in the world better connected.
With ongoing efforts to find new ways to provide more information via the World Wide Web, Columbia County is helping to make everyone in the county better informed, too.
The county's latest effort involves tests of a new program, DocDepot, that will allow access to the same background documentation commissioners use in evaluating various issues.
"Everything except executive session items will be online," says Erin Hall, the county clerk. That means information that once required the public and the media to visit the county office and seek access via an open records request soon will be accessible by just a few clicks on a home computer.
The county school board, whose Web site already contains significant information accessible by citizens, should step up to this next level, too.
Interestingly, the county's sheriff's office has led the way in this regard by posting incident reports on its Web site starting last year.
We're not worried about all this access making the media obsolete. To the contrary: With so much information now at citizens' fingertips, the danger is that the important stuff gets buried in an avalanche of details. Our job of providing scrutiny and context is more important than ever.
But it never hurts to make it easier for citizens to help hold their government accountable.
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