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Behind the Monday Roundup: Where we get our transpo news

Posted by on October 29th, 2009 at 10:47 am

A question we get a lot here at BikePortland is “Where do you get all your story ideas?”.

Most of our sources are top secret and will stay that way (just kidding, sort of), but here’s a rundown of a few of the places I go to gather tips for our weekly Monday Roundup post and to generally stay in the loop on transportation news and culture. is a livable streets blog

  • Streetsblog is a tremendous resource for in-depth, original reporting on national livable streets news, as well as issues in NY, LA, and SF; their newly opened Washington, DC bureau has some of the best information out there on federal transportation and livability issues.
  • Last year, the same folks launched The Livable Streets Network, a clearinghouse for blogging about livable streets. They read all the stories out there and choose the best, most interesting examples every day. (We did a write-up about them last winter.)
  • For the past year we’ve used a helpful service of Seattle think tank The Sightline Institute — their editors read 40 newspapers every morning and compile all the news about sustainability, social, and economic issues in the Pacific Northwest (including a fair amount of transportation/land use news) into a daily email digest.
  • We also get a lot of news and ideas from Worldchanging, a nonprofit media outlet focused on environmental issues of all stripes.
  • Another daily source of inspiration and links is How We Drive, the daily blog of Tom Vanderbilt, the author of Traffic.
  • For local news, we learn a lot following Chris Smith’s blog at PortlandTransport, Sarah Mirk’s reporting and blogging at the Mercury, Joe Rose’s Hard Drive blog at the Oregonian, and checking out what people post to the Shift email listserv.
  • To sort through all these many daily blog posts we use Google Reader to subscribe to the RSS feeds of these and other blogs we read regularly.
  • And then of course there’s Twitter. Twitter has fundamentally changed how we learn and consume information. any stories via emails from readers and Twitter.

    We have stories containing certain keywords, like “bicycle” delivered by Google News to our inboxes daily.

  • We haven’t yet been fooled into thinking that print is dead. Our favorite hard copy reads these days include Momentum, Bicycle Times, and pretty much whatever books, zines, magazines, and newspapers people drop by the office.

And of course some of the most interesting stories we come across are ones we would never see if not for picking up a newspaper in a coffeshop once in a while. It generally makes us better at bringing you bike news when we’re aware of all the other things going on in the world as well.

What sources do you turn to to stay informed about the world of bicycles and transportation news? Feel free to share links in the comments below.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • fredlf October 29, 2009 at 10:54 am

    The bike snob is a vital source of accurate reportage for me:

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  • pancho October 29, 2009 at 11:21 am

    What about the onion? Its one of the most accurate sources in the world today.

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  • Elly Blue (Editor) October 29, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I assure you, both the Onion and the Daily Show factor prominently in our understanding of important issues of the day. It’ll be a great day when both cover bicycling more in depth.

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  • pancho October 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Cheers to you Elly Blue!! It will be a great day.

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  • Nat West October 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    What about your dear readers? You *do* have that “News Tip?” link on the top right.

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  • John Lascurettes October 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Great info. Thanks, Elly. It’s always cool to see the how-to.

    You might also consider checking out Seattle-based Newsvine and configuring that to give you the topical news you want.

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  • Perry October 29, 2009 at 4:37 pm – every morning (sort of). You guys missed this one

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  • Kevin October 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing your secrets! Your roundups are a very important part of my Mondays.

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  • BURR October 29, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    what about all those BikePortland readers who send in their tips from other places around the interwebs?


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  • Elly Blue (Editor) October 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Burr and Nat — hmm, my original story had mad props for reader emails tips, but somewhere in the editorial process, unbeknownst to me, you all turned into “top secret” sources. I’d take it as a compliment. 🙂 And keep ’em coming —

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  • Joe Rowe October 30, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Don’t forget use of networked bookmarking.

    That’s Jonathan’s account.

    I’d suggest Johnathan, Elly and other editors upgrade from to diigo for the group features and many other improvements.

    As your Danish story today mentioned, to make PDX bike scene grow, we ( the PDX crowd ) have to defeat the bike lies and collect bike data and news.

    I created an account for Jonathan and I’ll hand him or elly the password.

    If people have a diigo account, they can now join the bikeportland group

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