The Beat Reporter Project was begun in Spring 2010 to help Somerville residents keep up with what the city and state governments are doing. Government boards from the Board of Aldermen to the Metropolitan District Commission are covered by the Open Meeting Law, but no one has time to go to everything. Often important decisions are made with no one from the public present. We’ll start small and cover as much as we can, taking our inspiration from Jadwiga Forbes, a long-time Somerville activist who saw government as a participatory sport.
The Beat Reporter Project is a network of committed individuals, each of whom takes one or more issues or organizations as his or her beat. Beat Reporters post event announcements and reports related to their beat under the Beat Reporter category for access by the Somerville community. We envision three levels of commitment:
- Tracker: A person who tracks an issue or organization on-line and in public media and announces coming events.
- Reporter: A Tracker who also attends events and posts reports on what happened.
- Researcher: A Reporter who also researches and posts background material giving the context for events.
People might team up to share these commitments. For instance, one person might track a committee, another might attend committee meetings and report on what happened, and a third might research and write up background on issues raised at the committee. Similarly, one person might track an issue area and also serve as reporter for a specific committee.
Any registered poster can add a post to the Beat Reporter list by selecting category Beat Reporter while posting. In the future, we will encourage posters to sign up as a Beat Reporter to make themselves known as a community resource. We envision adding a Beat Reporter section to your SV profile, which you can access via the Profile button on the Dashboard. The complete Beat Reporter proposal is available at Beat Reporter Project Proposal.
Watch this space!