Philly Joins Network To Bridge Gap Between Public and Local Meetings
A new participatory journalism initiative from Resolve Philly and City Bureau is making public meetings
more transparent and accessible by paying Philly residents to take notes.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., April 6, 2023 - Resolve Philly is partnering with City Bureau, a journalism lab based in Chicago, to bring the Documenters Network to Philadelphia. The participatory journalism initiative aims to make local government more transparent and accessible by recruiting, training, and paying Philadelphians to attend and take notes at public meetings across the city, ultimately turning the knowledge and relationships of local residents into a powerful community information resource for media, community organizers, and civic leaders working toward solutions.
“Philadelphians currently don’t have access to a full public record of what happens in our city’s meetings, and I’m thrilled that we’re expanding the Documenters Network to do that,” said Julie Christie, Director of Data and Special Projects at Resolve. “I can’t wait to see what we’ll be able to do as residents when we’re equipped with as much information as possible. People across the city can read the detailed notes of local government meetings that affect their daily lives, newsrooms will be able to keep better tabs, and we’ll all learn more about how the city operates.”
Although transparent by law, public meetings can be hard to find and difficult to follow without context. As local newsroom capacity has diminished, the reporters who previously attended on behalf of the public are disappearing. Generating a record of these meetings is an exciting and critical opportunity for our civic information system and democracy.
“Public meetings are workshops of democracy, where residents of every American community can witness, learn about, and act on the systems that impact their lives,” said Darryl Holliday, City Bureau co-founder, and News Lab Director. “Documenters.org is a tool designed to help everyday people access the knowledge they need to get civically involved and have their voices heard.”
Philly Documenters is housed within Resolve Philly’s Shake the Table initiative, which focuses on increasing local government accountability by engaging Philadelphians in navigating city systems and understanding the successes and barriers of interacting with city government. Initial funding for Philly Documenters comes from The Lenfest Institute’s Every Voice Every Vote initiative.
To learn more about Philly Documenters, visit ResolvePhilly.org.
About Resolve Philly
Resolve Philly is an unconventional journalism organization that challenges our industry to be more equitable, collaborative, and based in community voices and solutions. Resolve’s work centers on improving how misrepresented communities are covered—and served—by the media. We believe that in a time of widespread mistrust, political division, and industry upheaval, journalists must reconsider not only what they report but how they find, frame, and tell stories. Resolve has three programmatic initiatives— Broke in Philly, Equality Informed Philly, and Shake the Table—which all work in tandem to create informed and empowered communities.
About City Bureau
Founded in October 2015, City Bureau is a journalism lab reimagining local media. We do this by equipping people with skills and resources, engaging in critical public conversations and producing information that directly addresses people’s needs. Drawing from our work in Chicago, we aim to equip every community with the tools it needs to eliminate information inequity to further liberation, justice and self-determination. The award-winning organization has been covered by some of the industry’s top analysts, including the Columbia Journalism Review, MediaShift, Poynter, and Nieman Lab.