New program pays residents to attend, take notes at Minneapolis public meetings

An attendee makes a statement to the committee.
Meetings of school boards, zoning boards, planning commissions and other committees may make communities tick, but they can be a large time investment for most media organizations to cover.
Lacey Young | MPR News 2018

At a time when many news outlets are straining for clicks and advertising dollars, it’s not often that you hear about initiatives to beef up coverage of local government. Meetings of school boards, zoning boards, planning commissions and other committees may make communities tick, but they can be a large time investment for most media organizations to cover.

A new program in Minneapolis aims to shed more light on those meetings. The Minneapolis Documenters project pays local residents to attend public meetings and take notes, which are uploaded to a website for anyone to use.

The program is part of a four-city network that also includes outposts in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, and it’s sponsored in Minneapolis by the nonprofit Pillsbury United Communities.

For more, MPR News host Cathy Wurzer talked with Jackie Renzetti, who leads the Minneapolis program.

Hear the full conversation using the audio player above.

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