From Seattle writer and consultant Matt Rosenberg...

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ABOUT MATT

February 01, 2005

(Last updated Nov. 19, 2010)

Matt Rosenberg is the founder and Executive Director of a now-forming non-profit, Public Eye Northwest (PEN). Matt spent 2010 as director of Countywide Community Forums in King County, a privately funded public engagement program which works with citizens and directly with county government to gather and promote collective intelligence on key policy issues. CCF reached its highest level of citizen engagement under his leadership.

At CCF he founded the government transparency project Public Data Ferret, to enrich the news stream and build digital civic literacy. Ferret was featured weekly on the “Nine To Noon” show on KOMO-AM 1000 Seattle. The Ferret project and a companion blog, Social Capital Review, are now under PEN's umbrella.

Before taking this latest job, Matt served on staff as a senior fellow for the Seattle-based transportation think tank Cascadia Center from February, 2007 through December, 2009. (More below). Matt has 27 years combined experience in leadership, coalition-building, teaching and mentoring, public speaking, strategic communications, public policy, and journalism. Contact Matt: mattrosenberg (at) publiceyenorthwest (dot) org.

MATT'S BACKGROUND

Matt cut his teeth in Chicago politics and journalism. While attending Northwestern University, he spent the summer of 1977 working for a prominent civic organization battling political corruption in Chicago: The Better Government Association. As an Assistant to the Chief Investigator, Matt did public records research, investigative photography, and joined the undercover team of the Mirage Tavern, a joint investigative project of the BGA and The Chicago Sun-Times. Undertaken to document long-standing complaints from small businesses of shakedowns by city, county and state building inspectors, and in response to concerns about accountant-driven tax fraud that was shortchanging government coffers, The Mirage resulted in a month-long, Pulitzer-finalist Sun-Times series, a book, and an episode of "60 Minutes."

Less than a year later, while still attending Northwestern, Matt headed up a Get Out The Vote effort in seven precincts of Chicago's 48th Ward for an independent aldermanic candidate, Marion Kennedy Volini, who was elected to The Chicago City Council.

After an interlude involving time away from college, Matt resumed his undergraduate education at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and graduated with Dean's List and Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1982. He worked as a paid intern for an Illinois congressman in the nation's capital, and then returned home to Chicago.

Matt began his journalism career in 1983, covering Chicago, suburban and state politics for Lerner (later Pulitzer-Lerner) Newspapers, and writing opinion columns and editorials.

In 1988, he became Director of The O'Hare Citizens Coalition; developing his writing, research, community organizing and advocacy skills during a six-year stint working for 12 municipal governments pushing an ex-urban new airport south of Chicago as an alternative to O'Hare expansion.

Matt worked closely with suburban mayors, city department and legislative staff, citizens, and the media.

In the position, he wrote newsletters, legislative bulletins, many daily and community newspaper op-eds in his own name, ghost op-eds, and several commentaries for trade journals. He also helped engineered positive press coverage for his organization on radio, television, newspapers - locally and nationally. Among the national media outlets he helped shape placements with were The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, and CNN. Matt liaised frequently with major-market TV and radio reporters and producers in Chicago, as well as major Chicago daily newspaper beat reporters and opinion columnists, developing strong working relationships and helping his employer's side of a contentious, complicated issue get told in a fair and balanced manner.

He also emerged as a leader of an alliance of airport noise groups around the United States, providing consulting services and helping coordinate grassroots lobbying of the U.S. House and Senate, leading to passage of legislation to phase-out of the older, "Stage Two" jets. Airport environmental and planning issues brought Matt to Seattle in 1994 as the Executive Director of a government-funded organization advocating positive alternatives to Sea-Tac Airport expansion.

In 1995, Matt began working as an independent communications and political consultant, and a year later, with his wife, began raising the first of their two children. Matt worked on a candidate's King County Council campaign, helping a challenger come within several percentage points of unseating a long-standing incumbent. Matt served as an assistant media coordinator for Schools First in the successful March, 1996 campaign for voter approval of a Seattle Public Schools maintenance and operations levy.

Throughout the summer and fall of 1996, Matt served as State Media Coordinator for the winning candidate in the wide-open race for Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Terry Bergeson. He handled writing projects and press relations; played a prominent role in shaping the campaign's media strategy; and generated substantial positive coverage for the campaign and candidate statewide; in major newspapers, and on radio and TV.

In 1997, Matt began volunteering for Seattle-based Friends of The Library, writing for the organization's newsletter; advocating for increased library funding to reverse cutbacks in neighborhood library hours; and coordinating a library issues survey of Seattle City Council candidates, for the organization.

In 1998, Matt took on a contract position for Friends of The Library. He helped organize Seattle library supporters and build neighborhood chapters of Friends of The Library in the months prior to voter approval of the landmark $198 million "Libraries For All" capital infrastructure plan (and related bond issue).

In 1998, Matt resumed his work in professional journalism. Matt has written about regional economic development, commercial real estate, personal finance, venture capital, high-technology, e-commerce, personal technology, banking, an array of other business topics; plus parenting, religion, restaurants, travel, and music. Additionally, Matt has written extensively about politics, public policy and political culture, most notably as a regular bi-weekly guest op-ed columnist for The Seattle Times from April of 2001 until May of 2004. Topics there included civic engagement, open government, transportation, public safety and criminal justice, race relations; education; gun control; foreign policy; consumer culture; technology; the economy; and national, state and local politics.

Matt has written for the Puget Sound Business Journal, Washington CEO, Washington Law and Politics, Seattle Magazine, The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut, Metropolitan Living, Parent Map, Journey (Washington State AAA's magazine), the Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Weekly Standard, National Review Online, and Jewish World Review.

In January of 2004, Matt began his own blog, Rosenblog, providing news and commentary on state, national and international politics and policy; culture; plus consumer, business, economic and leisure topics. After publishing 1,557 blog posts at Rosenblog since January 2004, Matt took a hiatus from the site starting in July, 2007. He resumed periodic posts there in April, 2008.

In the summer of 2004, while continuing to ramp up at Rosenblog, Matt also joined a high-traffic national political blog as a Contributing Editor, Red State, where he posted through 2006. In summer 2004 he also joined, and played an especially prominent role until year's end of 2006 at a nationally-recognized regional political blog based in Puget Sound, named Sound Politics. He wrote frequent commentaries for the main site, and with founder Stefan Sharkansky and co-editor Andy MacDonald helped develop the site's self-publishing tool, or Public Blog. Matt was named Senior Editor of Sound Politics, and helped recruit new talent to the main site, as he moved on to other, more trans-partisan pursuits.

In February, 2007 Matt took a senior fellow staff position with the Seattle transportation think tank Cascadia Center, where he developed and implemented a legacy media and new media advocacy journalism strategy through his own writing, research and publishing - as well as via blogging, social media, and other forms of relationship-building. His work at Cascadia was published widely, and recognized regionally and nationally.

In January, 2010, Matt became Director of Public Affairs for Dick's Drive-In Restaurants, founded by Dick Spady in 1954. In this position, Matt was charged with guiding non-partisan citizen engagement programs in the public sphere, including Countywide Community Forums. This led to his current work, founding Public Data Ferret and forming Public Eye Northwest.

MORE INFORMATION:

Matt's Journalism Portfolio - 1998-2010.

Matt In The News (coverage by others of his writing and work).

Matt's speciality blogging and writing on transportation.

Earned media resulting from Matt's behind-the-scenes work for his employers and clients.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at February 1, 2005 11:54 AM


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