Alexander B. Howard is a writer, digital governance expert, and open government advocate based in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Digital Democracy Project at the Demand Progress Educational Fund, a nonprofit focused on improving democratic governance through smart use of technology.
Howard has been honored twice by The Washingtonian Magazine as one of Washington’s “TechTitans,” which recognized him as a “respected trend-spotter and chronicler of government’s use of new media,” and one of the world’s most influential people on digital government by Apolitical.
Open Government Advocate
In 2013, Howard founded e-pluribusunum.org, which became widely read as a top blog on government information technology, cited and respected in open government and press freedom communities around the world, from the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the National Archives of the United Kingdom.
In 2016, Howard joined the Sunlight Foundation as a senior analyst, where he led nonprofit’s federal transparency work, inheriting a broad portfolio of issues that covered the gamut of digital government, open government data, press freedom, net neutrality, social media, identity and privacy.
At the end of 2016, Howard was promoted to be deputy director of the Sunlight Foundation, where he wore a dozen different hats after being appointed to help lead the “restartup” of one of the world’s preeminent nonpartisan open government nonprofits during the presidential transition and the first sixteen months of the Trump administration.
The projects that Howard created and nurtured at Sunlight ranged from building on its legacy as a transparency watchdog to tracking Trump’s conflicts of interest and reporting on the ongoing corruption of the presidency to the Web Integrity Project. Howard started and led numerous initiatives, from civic engagement to strategic advocacy. He edited and published watchdog journalism that held the Trump White House accountable. He managed and grew Sunlight’s social media accounts, speaking truth to power at @SunFoundation and engaging a global audience. He acted as expert source of analysis for media around the world, delivering keynote speeches in national capitols from Europe to South America. And he worked in coalitions on open government reform efforts in cities, states and nations around the world. While at Sunlight, he helped draft the Honest Ads Act, which would make online political ads transparent. The bill’s framework been adopted, adapted and enacted in states, endorsed by Facebook and Twitter, and used as a standard for transparency by those tech companies and Google.
Independent Writer and Analyst
Over the years, Howard has appeared on-air as an analyst for All Things Considered, Marketplace, MSNBC, WHYY, WNYC’s On the Media, WAMU, Federal News Radio, Al Jazeera English, and America, Washington Post TV, WJLA and a guest on The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and has been quoted by the Washington Post, CNN, New York Times, hundreds of print, broadcast, radio and digital publications.
In 2016, Howard was the first senior editor for technology and society at the Huffington Post. From 2013 and 2015, he was a columnist at TechRepublic and a contributor to TechPresident, among other fine publications.
Over the years, he has contributed to Science Magazine, MIT’s Tech Review, WIRED, the National Journal, PBS Mediashift, The Daily Beast, NextGov, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Slate, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Govfresh, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, TechPresident, CBS News’ What’s Trending, Govloop, Governing People, and the Association for Computer Manufacturing, amongst others.
From 2010 to 2013, he was the Washington Correspondent for Radar at O’Reilly Media, where he researched, reported on, and covered emerging technology and global open movements, including open government, open science, open source software, open data, and open journalism.
Prior to joining O’Reilly, he was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com at TechTarget, where he wrote about how the laws and regulations that affect information technology are changing, spanning the issues of online identity, data protection, risk management, electronic privacy and IT security, and the broader topics of online culture and enterprise technology.
Speaking and Moderation
Over the course of his career, Howard has served variously as a master of ceremonies, keynote speaker, moderator and panelist at numerous conferences in Washington and beyond, including the International Monetary Fund, Web 2.0 Summit and Expo, Gov 2.0 Summit and Expo, Social Media Week, DC Week, SXSWi, Strata, GOSCON, AMP Summit, Tech@State, CAR/IRE, the State of the Net, and the Open Government Partnership’s annual summits in Brasilia and Mexico City.
Howard also delivered remarks or moderated discussions at Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, The Wilson Center, New York Law School, Alfred University, The Mona School of Business at the University of The West Indies, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The U.S. National Archives, NIST, The Club de Madrid, The Cato Institute, The New America Foundation, The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. In 2011, he was Visiting Faculty at the Poynter Institute.
Howard was an unpaid member of the Government of Canada’s independent advisory panel on open government from 2012-2015.
Education and Personal Life
Howard graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in Biology. He has held fellowships at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School and the Networked Transparency Policy Project in the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He now resides in the District of Columbia with his family.
Please send ideas, tips and requests for comment, moderation or speaking to 410-849-9808 or email.