Apr 10, 2023 - News

Resolve Philly to train residents to cover public meetings

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Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Philly public meetings will soon get an extra dose of transparency with the help of paid citizen journalists through nonprofit news organization Resolve Philly.

Why it matters: Government schedules are jam packed with mundane meetings in hard-to-find rooms where officials craft policy on significant issues, from public safety to property taxes.

  • Plus: Transparency breeds accountability.

What’s happening: This summer, Resolve Philly plans to launch a local arm of the Documenters Network.

Details: The program, created by Chicago-based nonprofit City Bureau, will train and pay residents to attend and write about meetings that have traditionally gone unreported.

  • Citizen journalists, called documenters, will write notes about what happened, decisions made and how people voted.
  • Resolve Philly’s staff will fact check the notes and publish them on a public database.
  • Documenters, who will act like freelancers, will be paid $17 an hour.

Between the lines: The Documenter program is part of Resolve Philly’s Shake the Table initiative, which is focused on local government accountability.

What they’re saying: “We’re really interested in the least sexy meetings out there because those are the meetings that really make decisions about how folks experience living in the city,” said Julie Christie, Resolve Philly’s director of data and special projects.

  • She expected the program to cover City Council committee meetings and those for the city’s Street Department and Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Catch up quick: Founded in 2018, Resolve Philly helps produce collaborative solutions reporting and community engagement on social challenges facing the city.

What’s next: Resolve Philly expects to begin training documenters in late May and cover meetings this summer.

  • Sign up to let them know you’re interested in becoming a documenter.

In the meantime, find upcoming public meetings in the city now on the Philadelphia Documenter’s website.

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