“I have long been fascinated by the path less traveled: short-cuts through a neighbor’s backyard, aqueduct trails, blue highways, river beds, cobble-stone paths in the heart of a modern city, abandoned railway lines that have been converted to bike trails. There’s something in me that loves anything that doesn’t conform and suggests a different, more interesting way of getting from here to there.” — Micah

HI! Welcome to my home online. I’ve been writing, blogging, speaking and organizing for a long time, so this place is packed. You can find a selection of my favorite published articles and public talks, links to all my books, plus an evolving archive of nearly everything that I ever blogged on sites like the IraqWarReader.com (my first blog), micah.sifry.com, PersonalDemocracy.com, techPresident.com, and Civicist. (We’re still in the process of retrieving some material that can only be found on the Internet Archive, thank goodness for them!) 

If you want to get to my latest work, look at the right hand rail. These days I’m mostly writing The Connector newsletter and doing a mix of consulting and volunteer projects. You can also find me on BlueSky at @msifry.bsky.social and on Mastodon at @msifry@mastodon.social.

My bio:

Headshot of Micah Sifry

Micah L. Sifry is a writer, editor and organizer with nearly forty years of experience covering politics, technology and international affairs.

From January 2015 through September 2020, he was President and Co-Founder of Civic Hall, New York City’s collaborative community center for civic tech. Civic Hall grew out of his work co-founding, editing and curating Personal Democracy Media, an independent media company that has focused since 2004 on the way technology is changing politics, government and civic life. He was also curator of the annual Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) conference, which gathers close to one thousand people every June in New York, from 2004-2019, and was also the editor of techPresident.com, PDM’s award-winning group news site. Upon founding Civic Hall, he created Civicist, its daily news site covering the field of civic tech, and along with Matt Stempeck has curated the Civic Tech Field Guide, a living repository of information on more than 8,500 projects, companies, tools, platforms and processes using technology for the public good. He is currently working on a novel and writing a weekly newsletter on democracy, movements, organizing and tech called The Connector.

Sifry is the author or editor of nine books, most recently Civic Tech in the Global South (with Tiago Peixoto, World Bank Books, 2016) A Lever and a Place to Stand: How Civic Tech Can Move the World (PD Press, 2015), The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Changed Politics (Yet) (OR Books, 2014), and WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency (OR Books, 2011), which was published in February 2011 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

Sifry’s work with Personal Democracy Media and techPresident have won him wide recognition. In awarding techPresident the 2007 Knight-Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism, the judges said, “The site not only reports on, but encourages, citizens to participate more directly in the political process. It’s an amazing source of information from a non-traditional news outlet.” The Washington Post called techPresident “the Internet citizenry’s new consensus taker,” and recognized PDF as the world’s “largest annual gathering of political technology geeks.”

As a consultant, Sifry was a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation from its founding in 2006 through 2015, and played a central role in crafting its original mission and strategy. He also joined the board of directors of Consumer Reports in October 2010, and the board of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science in January 2012, where he served until 2022. In the spring of 2012, he was a Visiting Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School, teaching a class on “The Politics of the Internet.” For several years, he also taught a class called “Writing Politics” at the CUNY Graduate Center, specifically focused on training PhD students in the art of op-ed writing.

From 1997-2005, he was a senior analyst with Public Campaign, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC working on comprehensive campaign finance reform. Prior to joining Public Campaign in 1997, Sifry was an editor and writer with The Nation magazine for thirteen years, writing widely on domestic and international politics, especially the Middle East, his first love and specialty.

Sifry has written and edited nine books. In addition to those noted above, in 2008 he co-edited with his Personal Democracy Forum colleagues Allison Fine, Andrew Rasiej and Josh Levy, the anthology Rebooting America: Ideas for Redesigning American Democracy for the Internet Age (Personal Democracy Books, 2008). With his Public Campaign colleague Nancy Watzman, he co-authored Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), a book on how money in politics affects people in their everyday lives. His book Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002) was described in Newsday as “a commanding survey of contemporary third parties…In a more politically developed country, Sifry’s reporting would be the gold standard of contemporary journalism.” He is also the co-editor, with Christopher Cerf, of The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003), and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991.

From 1993-96, in addition to being associate editor of The Nation and politics editor of RadioNation, he published The Perot Periodical, a quarterly newsletter, which was praised by the Columbia Journalism Review as “indispensable reading for politics junkies of any political persuasion: first-rate reporting by first-rate reporters.”

Sifry is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian, Politico, TalkingPointsMemo, Newsday, The American Prospect, The Hill, Salon.com, IntellectualPolitics.com, Columbia Journalism Review, Tikkun, TomPaine.com, Salon.com, Newsday, HotWired’s Netizen, World Business, The New York Observer, George, Los Angeles, Elle, Inside Media, The Village Voice, YES Magazine, Foreign Policy, The New Internationalist and The Progressive. In 1998-99, he was an Independent Project Fellow of the Open Society Institute, and was invited to write the epilogue of The Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America (M.E. Sharpe, 2000). He has appeared on the PBS Newshour, CBS “This Morning,” MSBNC, C-SPAN, BBC, Sky News, MTV News, National Public Radio, CBC Radio, Air America and too many local talk radio programs to note.

He is a graduate of Princeton University (BA Politics, 1983) and New York University (MA Politics, 1989). He lives with his wife in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. They have two children. He is also active in local politics as a founding steering committee member of NYCD16-Indivisible and as a member of the Working Families Party’s Westchester-Putnam chapter.

Latest writing:

The President Has No Clothes!

Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? If you watched the presidential debate, you know what you saw. Read more

The Road Not Taken: Hard Truths about Jamaal Bowman’s Loss

Don't blame AIPAC. Political malpractice by the incumbent plus bad advice and self-delusion from national groups did him in. Read more

The Empire Strikes Back: Latimer v Bowman Goes Down to the Wire

A last look at the Democratic primary in my home district as the political circus really comes to town. Read more