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Concerning "State computers leading the way in energy efficiency"

The previous post was a specialty story I wrote for my intermediate journalism course.

I had written another story for the class about progress of recommendations for Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Next Generation Energy Act, and was interested in finding out more about how Gov. Pawlenty was making Minnesota “greener.? As a co-chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), Gov. Pawlenty has also been making strides in making the country greener, as well, and I made this the concentration of my specialty story.

On Nov. 7, as co-chairs of the NGA, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Gov. Pawlenty announced that the NGA would be partnering with the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. I focused my story on how this partnership would affect Minnesota agencies.

I began my reporting by calling the media contact on the NGA’s press release where I got the basic background on the initiative. I then phoned Gov. Pawlenty’s media contact, multiple times on multiple occasions. The contact was unavailable every time I called, but I continued to leave messages, in hopes of getting return calls. I also began calling various state agencies that I thought may be directly connected to the energy saving plan, including the State Energy Program. I also called the Department of Administration, on somewhat of a whim, hoping they could direct my call to someone who was very familiar with the initiative. While waiting for return phone calls from the various stage agencies, I called back the NGA contact to get some more general information.

It turned out that the communication director at the Department of Administration was the perfect person to call, as that department was in charge of purchasing equipment for the agencies— something directly affected by the initiative. The communication director was so helpful in answering all of my questions. I continued to try and get a hold of someone at Gov. Pawlenty’s office, but was continually told to leave a message.

Finally, based some information I had found through my reporting, I contacted the Office of Enterprise Technology to try and find out some information on the interagency group working on creating a sort of standard for sleep and shutdown modes for agency computers. The media contact forwarded my request directly to the man who was leader of that interagency group while it worked on the climate savers effort. He was another extremely helpful source and clarified a lot of the details as I tried to understand how the initiative would actually affect state agencies. I also talked to the media contact for the Climate Savers Computing Initiative to see what her reaction was to the NGA partnership.

Overall, I was very pleased in the amount of information I could actually find about the initiative—and I am especially appreciative of those I could actually get a hold of as they were very patient in helping me understand what was going on in state agencies as a result of the initiative.