By The Column Team · April 18, 2021
On April 18, we're proud to celebrate National Columnists Day — a holiday to honor the columnists who offer their perspectives in communities across the country every day.
When we decided to name our company "Column," we were inspired by the multi-layer meaning of the word for our team and our mission. So today, we want to celebrate by sharing what "Column" means to Column.
In publications, columns showcase writers' opinions and perspectives about current events or cultural topics. Columns originally got their name from their position in the newspaper, where they typically run vertically on the page. Columns spark conversation among readers and help citizens engage with the issues of the day.
Here at Column, we see columns as vital to information exchange in our society. Journalists and writers don't just keep us informed — they broaden our perspectives, helping us to think critically about events in our communities and beyond.
We are also a company with opinions of our own. We believe that the utilization and distribution of public interest information is a key pillar of our system of representative democracy, and one that is increasingly at risk in the 21st century. We aim to use our skills as technologists, communicators, and builders to fortify trusted civic and journalistic institutions, starting with the public notice process.
Like the concept of public notice, architectural columns go back centuries and centuries. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "column" as "a cylindrical or slightly tapering body of considerably greater length than the diameter, erected vertically as a support for some part of a building." Columns decorate official buildings all around the U.S. and the world, in the places where the very participants of public notice in government and law go to work every day.
Columns are often symbols of democracy, holding up the principles we live by as a nation. They also symbolize our company's dedication to upholding our own mission: to build technology that improves the utility of public interest information and supports the distribution of that information by journalists that serve their communities.
"Column" can describe any vertical arrangement of space, text, numbers — but we especially like to think of columns as arrangements of data. Columns of figures, columns in spreadsheets and tables, all help us keep our business organized and driven, always pushing toward our larger goals. One of those goals is to combine data and technology to make the information in public notices more useful to government, journalists and citizens. As a symbol of data structures, "column" reminds us that data is immensely valuable, and we're here to do the hard work of making it more powerful.
As Columnists, we love working together to solve the hard problems facing our systems of public information. Thank you for supporting us as users, partners, advisors and friends — and happy National Columnists Day!
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