Detroit Documenter Says the Program Keeps Detroiters Well-Informed

Detroit Documenter Ada Nicole Smith says that the Documenters’ grassroots community enables her to stay connected to the city and relay information back to the community.

Ada Nicole Smith
Ada Nicole Smith

Ada Nicole Smith is a native Detroiter who has been a part of the Detroit Documenters program since 2019. As a Documenter, she’s been live-tweeting and taking notes of public meetings to make that information readily available for reporters and citizens to access.

Smith says that when she first heard about the program, it felt like a natural fit. “I’m excited about some of the changes that were happening and taking place here in the city. I am a counselor by education, but I have always been very civic-minded,” she says. 

Smith has covered Detroit City Council, formal meetings and committee meetings, Detroit Public School Board and Board of Police Commissioners meetings by live-tweeting and taking notes.

Interested in learning more about the program or joining Documenters? Get more information »

She says initially began with live-tweeting meetings. “Tweets are quick and easy and you just you know can keep a thread going so you’re engaged but you don’t have to be as maybe as meticulous as if you were taking notes,” she explains.

As a Documenter, she stays connected to what’s going on in the city and can relay the information back to the community.

“I enjoy actually being knowledgeable of what’s happening, what’s going on in my city, and so if I can do that and share some of that information with others then it’s really a win-win,” she says.

Smith says she’s aware the average citizen is not as engaged. She hopes the various city entities reach out to citizens more often to keep them well informed of the changes that take place in Detroit.  

“I just feel like if people have more information… then they would take a more active role in certain things,” says Smith. “Some programs would have better representation — we would just get better service has overall because you need the feedback from the community.”

Smith loves that Documenters is a “grassroots community.”

She hopes people follow Documenters, their work and the information that’s gathered. “That may give them another idea of something that they want to find out more information about at a later date.”

Watch the full interview:

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.