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 11 cities to organize, train, and pay more than 2,000 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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After one year of operating with the support of the Stronger Democracy Award, City Bureau’s Documenters Network has built a strong foundation for growth, establishing solid technological infrastructure and robust central support systems for sites and staff nationwide.
Over the past year we’ve hosted two in-person network convenings, expanded our network to 11 sites nationwide, and made critical hires to help support strategic planning and growth. To date more than 2,000 people have registered for Documenters.org accounts, and they have collectively covered nearly 6,000 meetings across the network.** \n **