Three ways you can get involved in the new Dallas Documenters Network

By |Published On: December 6, 2022|Categories: Dallas News|

This will be a game changer for Dallas. 

In two months, training will begin for 40 Dallas residents whose mission is to make sure our citizenry has eyes and ears at as many public meetings as possible. This used to be a job for reporters, but the decline of the local news business model has rendered us a city full of crucial government decisions, often with no one paying attention.

Yellow logo of Documenters powered by Dallas Free Press

That changes in early 2023. Dallas Free Press will be the 10th newsroom in America to host the Documenters Network, which recruits, trains and, most importantly, pays residents for their time spent attending meetings, taking notes to contribute to the public record, and sharing back to their communities. This innovative and award-winning program was birthed in Chicago from the City Bureau newsroom, which, “after hearing their neighbors say one too many times that they didn’t see their issues being covered by traditional media, set out to change the paradigm. They vowed that reporters and newsrooms would partner with residents on newsgathering.

We’ll be recruiting heavily from South Dallas and West Dallas, the two neighborhoods Dallas Free Press calls home, and we are open to other partnerships, too, especially from communities of color and neighborhoods that historically have been left out of public processes.

We have a big lift ahead of us, and we can’t do it without you.

Graphic of three people each lifting a large puzzle piece

Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Donate to support the Dallas Documenters Network.
    Our expansive plans for 2023, including bringing Documenters to Dallas, will nearly double our annual budget. For a limited time, a coalition of NewsMatch funders is tripling all donations to Dallas Free Press. That means your donation of $100 = $300, and your new monthly $25 donation = $900. Donate today!
  2. Become a Documenter.
    Perhaps you’re a citizen interested in attending a weekly meeting and demystifying the process of Dallas zoning changes or DART route decisions. Maybe you’re a director or board member of an organization with residents wanting to bring about changes in their community but not quite sure how. Raise your hand.
  3. Tell us what needs to be documented in Dallas.
    Maybe there’s a board, task force or commission that you think deserves more attention. Perhaps there’s a specific problem you’ve identified and you’re not sure who’s in charge of fixing it, but you’d like to get to the bottom of it and find solutions. Either way, let us know.
Graphic of three people holding mobile phones up to record against a  city skyline

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About the Author: Keri Mitchell

Keri Mitchell has spent 20+ years as a community journalist, including 15 years dedicated to community and civic journalism at Dallas’ Advocate magazines. She launched Dallas Free Press in early 2020 with the belief that all neighborhoods deserve reporting and storytelling that values their community and holds leaders accountable. Mitchell says she is energized by “knowing our work is making an impact — listening to people, telling their stories with strong narratives paired with compelling data that leads to change. I also love spending time in our neighborhoods and with our neighbors, learning from them and working to determine how journalism can be part of the solution to their challenges.” Mitchell is proud to be the winner of multiple awards during her journalism career including: Finalist in Magazine Feature Reporting (2018) and Finalist in Magazine Investigative Reporting (2017) from Hugh Aynesworth Excellence in Journalism, Best Feature Story (2011) from Texas Community Newspaper Association and Best Magazine Feature (2011) from Dallas Bar Association Philbin Awards.

Official Title:

Founder + executive director

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