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The Problem

Hundreds of government meetings happen each month in your city and county. Many go unnoticed by the media and the public but critical decisions are being made that impact your quality of life. 

A Solution

Create a new, independent public record by training and paying people to attend meetings, then publish the results. 

The Colorado Citizen Observers Pilot Project seeks to create a new path for civic engagement using the power of people and mobile devices. We will train people to attend, observe, and record government meetings so we can share original, accurate, non-partisan documentation of the proceedings with the public and news media. The project is being implemented by a coalition of partners led by the League of Women Voters of Larimer County. Our work is funded by the Gates Family Foundation, and supported by the Colorado Media Project, Open Media Foundation, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the Colorado Press Association, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation and Documenters.orgThe pilot project was managed and developed by journalist January Jones

 

Our goals are to build lasting community partnerships, increase government transparency, and boost civic engagement. We seek to include diverse citizens as we share actionable information for the rural communities and small cities of Larimer County, and eventually, other Colorado communities served by the League of Women Voters. ​

Pilot Project Focus

A foundational goal of the pilot project is to learn what it takes to establish a scalable and replicable Citizen Observers program in Colorado that works in partnership with local media, higher education, and community partners to fill critical news gaps and meet community information needs. 

About the League of Women Voters

How Will We Do This?

  • Pilot seeks design of a scalable model for roll out to all Colorado counties

  • Partnership building with media and community 

  • Inclusive recruitment of Citizen Observers

  • Citizen Observers receive training & stipends

  • Experimenting with workflows & platforms

  • Create original and public audiovisual meeting records

  • Offer a wide range of roles for equitable participation including remote & in-person

  • Create networks for digital distribution of content

How Can You Work With Us?

Conversation, Inclusion & Participation

This pilot project seeks collaborators who can inform what meetings we cover, what information we produce, and how it's shared. Are you involved with a community group who is interested? Do you work in media? Do you have an academic interest in what we are doing? We would love to chat! 

What Do Citizen Observers Do? 

We've created a range of potential roles that people can play in the Citizen Observer program. Our goal is to get non-partisan, accurate reports from meetings. Beyond writing a meeting summary, this might include live tweeting or recording video/audio of a meeting. To accommodate skills sets and availability of working people, we have options for remote and in-person participation. We will match Citizen Observers with the best fit for their skills, interests, and availability.

 

What Meetings Will Be Covered?

We have documented nearly 100 different government meetings or various sizes throughout Larimer County. We will suggest meetings that need more community exposure and ones that match interests of Citizen Observers. We will aim to get coverage of meetings from each of the cities/towns in Larimer County, schools districts, and Larimer County Government. 

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