Detroit Documenter Field Coordinator Says Program Teaches Detroiters About Each Other

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Image credit: Nargis Hakim Rahman

Detroit Documenter Field Coordinator Vassilis Jacob says Documenters program teaches people about different communities.

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Vassilis Jacobs served as the Detroit Documenters Field Coordinator with Citizen Detroit for the past two years. He’s been working with Documenters, who take notes and live-tweet public meetings to increase civic engagement in Detroit. 

Jacobs says every meeting offers a wealth of information. 

[It’s] always enlightening to hear what the public are saying about different issues, and also all the good projects that are happening.” —Vassilis Jacobs, Detroit Documenter

So every meeting has something new and [I’m] learning a lot of new information,” he says. 

He says Documenters is a way to get involved in the community. 

I think it’s a great way to learn about your government, and also get paid to do it, and become part of the public record to not only do you learn yourself, but you contribute to the public record, and the documentation of the boards commissions and authorities that we have in Detroit,” he says.

In the past year Documenters took notes at the Detroit City Council and subcommittee meetings, Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, Detroit Library Commission, Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department board meetings, among others.

We have a lot of different meetings to go to. You can learn about those mission boards and authorities, and then take accurate notes and share them with the public… write stories around that information, or, or share it with your friends, get that information out to people in whatever capacity and you get paid to do it,” he says. 

Additional to doing orientations and assigning Documenters to cover meetings, Jacobs facilitated trainings for Documenters like live-tweeting, note-taking and understanding Detroit’s budget workshop.

He says the Documenters often discover city services by documenting.

There’s just great information coming around… different contracts that are approved… different public comments. [It’s] always enlightening to hear what the public are saying about different issues, and also all the good projects that are happening,” he says. 

Jacobs says he’s learned about different people, and Detroiters, through the program. 

You see faces and you can make assumptions, but you don’t really know, and it’s so it’s been great, culturally, to learn about different people that are a part of this program.”

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Nargis Hakim Rahman, Civic Reporter

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.

Follow @NargisTheWriter

Detroit Documenters

This post is a part of Detroit Documenters .

Detroit Documenters trains and pays highly engaged citizens to participate in the newsgathering process and contribute to a new public record for the city. Learn more and sign up at Documenters.org

Documenters is a collaboration between WDET 101.9 FM, City Bureau, CitizenDetroit, Detroit Detroit, Detroit Free Press, and Outlier Media.

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