A year ago — after a heavily digital few months — Public Knowledge decided it was time to design a new website. And what better time than the end of our 20th year in 2021? I had the unique opportunity to lead this process from its inception through today, our launch date.
As part of this process, I reviewed all 20 years of our content — and over 200 authors — to create a more streamlined, focused website with a categorized search feature. This task gave me a captivating view into the growth of the organization.
As I cataloged old materials, I reminisced about some of our celebratory wins: the 2012 takedown of SOPA/PIPA, the extreme anti-piracy bills that would have jeopardized community platforms and innovation online; the cell phone unlocking bill in 2014, which finally allowed consumers to take their cell phones from one service provider to another; and the Federal Communications Commission’s passage of the Open Internet Order in 2015, which enacted the strongest net neutrality rules in history.
I also re-lived heartbreaking losses: the FCC’s repeal of those same net neutrality rules in 2017, eliminating critical consumer protections put in place for the phase-out of legacy telephone networks; Congress’s 2017 takedown of the first rules that outlined how ISPs use and share their customers’ private information; the Department of Justice’s 2011 approval of Comcast and NBCUniversal’s vertical integration, allowing NBCU to control both how TV is made and how it’s delivered to people’s homes.
As I sorted through past authors, I came across the names of the people who’ve gone through our Fellowship program, and marveled at the development of both their work and the program over the years. I reflected on my own 8-year career at Public Knowledge, when I started as an entry-level Communications Associate in 2013 — coinciding with the launch of our last website. And, I came across over 300 pieces written by the late Sherwin Siy, a prolific member of the Public Knowledge staff for many years who passed away at just 41 this past summer. In reading this part of his legacy, I felt a deeper appreciation for the importance of preserving our library of ideas.
The examination of our past led me to think a lot about what lies ahead for Public Knowledge. There’s so much work to be done; it can feel daunting. But seeing the progress of our first 20 years inspires the possibilities of what’s to come. It’s particularly exciting as I’ve watched Public Knowledge’s current policy proposals gain momentum this year, like a dedicated digital regulatory agency, a Superfund for the Internet, and a $50-per-month broadband subsidy for low-income Americans.
Take a moment to check out our new website today. We’ve maintained our immensely popular Issue Pages that summarize our top priorities, and revamped our PKThinks subsection for our papers and reports and our PKTrains subsection for our advocacy training. You’ll find new ways to search through our content by topic and author. We’ve aimed for a direct, forward-looking approach to sharing the latest information about tech policy and how you can help.
Overhauling our website was a team effort. Many people contributed, but I’d like to acknowledge two who helped in particular. Our Communications Director Shiva Stella was always happy to lend an ear and talk through big organizational decisions during the design stage. And our Communications Intern Anna Hickey really dove into the implementation stage, taking on the essential behind-the-scenes work that ensured we could launch today. Additionally, many thanks to Public Knowledge’s John Bergmayer, Kristine DeBry, Courtney Lee, and everyone else who helped make today’s new website a reality.
Lastly, I hope you’ll contribute to our End-of-Year Giving Fund or become a Friend of PK with a recurring donation so we can continue the important work reflected on this new website. We wouldn’t be here without your support.