Local Government Reporter

A resource for reporters and journalists covering local government

Code for KC is supporting the design and development of a website that puts links to city council meetings and other local government business in one place, creating an easy resource designed for reporters and local media outlets who cover local government, in order to make their jobs easier and keep the public better informed.

Supporting the news you need, even when you don’t know you need it

The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating a silent problem Kansas City was already facing. The regular, daily business of local government is crucial to the lives of the public. But covering this day-to-day activity is challenging for news organizations. The KC metro area hosts 119 city governments. City business meetings are often public, but there are not enough reporters to cover all that is happening at all times. Much of these goings on are not notable enough to be “newsworthy,” so the public does not demand this kind of coverage.

In the face of this public health emergency, journalism resources are being stretched even thinner, and the daily happenings of local government is getting even less attention. Media and citizen attention is rightly focused elsewhere.

However, the pandemic has forced local governments to move much business online. This presents an opportunity for fuller and more immediate coverage of local government proceedings.

Conceived and managed by local non-profit news outlet The Beacon, the Local Government Reporter fits seamlessly into this new normal. Local reporters, news outlets, and the public would benefit from this easier access to local government workings, during this crisis and after some normalcy returns. This online dashboard will be a user-friendly aggregate of council and committee meeting notes, including agendas, minutes, and any available video archive. This is representative of The Beacon’s focus on local, in-depth, solutions-driven journalism.

The Beacon has convened a multi-outlet collaborative journalism approach that includes Shawnee Mission Post, Startland, the Jackson County Advocate, Northeast News, the Kansas Press Association, The Kansas City Star, KCUR 89.3, and the KLC Journal, and welcomes participation from other media outlets serving the KC metro area.

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