Public meetings are workshops for democracy, where members of a community can witness, learn about, and act on the systems that impact their lives. But as local journalism collapses, many local government meetings happen with no oversight or input from the public—a systemic failure of our civic information system, and a critical missed opportunity for genuine democracy.
City Bureau’s Documenters Network has supported organizations in four cities to organize, train, and pay more than 1,200 people who attend and annotate government meetings. Documenters are a diverse and intergenerational group sharing trustworthy information in their communities and building new infrastructure for democratic participation from the ground up.
The growth of the Documenters Network will have transformative impacts on American democracy. Tens of thousands of Documenters connected and enabled with training and technology will create a more equitable foundation for local media, more accountable policymaking, and a groundswell of participation in local government.
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