March 1, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Civic journalists collaborate on shared research tools

3 min read
Local community journalists are collaborating on research tools. It's all part of their support for local residents sharing news and knowledge about local government.

A searchable database of local government documents: for example, you can search the Eugene City Council for “moment of silence.”

[00:00:07] Councilor Alan Zelenka (April 25, 2022): I wondered if we wouldn’t have a moment of silence for the hundreds of men, women, and children that have lost their lives in Ukraine…

[00:00:16] Mayor Lucy Vinis: Absolutely.

[00:00:17] Councilor Matt Keating (Sept. 12, 2022): And it was a odd experience, Mayor. I flew home from being in Washington this last week and to fly home on a United Airlines flight on 9/11 gives one pause. So without objection, Mayor, I would like to ask colleagues, attendees to observe a moment of silence and reflection if we may. (Yes, absolutely.)

[00:00:47] William Smith (Jan. 9, 2023): I’d like to take a moment of silence for Mark Hurwitz, who I read his testimony for you a few months ago.

[00:00:54] Councilor Matt Keating (Nov. 28, 2022): 606 mass shootings in the United States in this year alone, Thanksgiving Week: 22 people killed, 44 injured by guns, from Walmart to nightclubs to campuses. There’s a real sickness, Mayor. There’s a real sickness in these United States. So much so there are travel warnings to countries across the globe about visiting our nation. I just ask for, Mayor, a moment of silence, a moment of reflection, to collectively add some energy to help curb the violence, please.

[00:01:40] Stefan Strek (Jan. 23, 2023): Oregon is well known all over the world as a center of peace and understanding. And people that really enjoy working together. So, in a world with too much hunger, I appreciate having a brief moment of silence.

[00:01:59] Councilor Matt Keating (Nov. 22, 2021): I want to thank Kyle and volunteers and staff from Transponder for all you do in our community. I’m wearing the ribbon from the event tonight in honor of those who have lost their lives at the hands of senseless hate and violence launched toward members of our transgender family and our community. And I just wanted to take a moment, Mayor, if appropriate, just a moment of silence from colleagues before moving on if we could.

[00:02:39] John Q: The search tools can help increase public engagement. Artificial intelligence like ChatGPT can find and share background and context with full references.

[00:02:48] Our news nonprofit was founded on the premise that journalism is not just a product, it is also a process that creates a healthy civic life.

[00:02:57] The wastewater commissioners got a refresher on the importance of media at their June meeting: “The role of the press in executive sessions,” from former fire chief and now Senior Consultant George Dunkel.

[00:03:08] George Dunkel (SDAO): I’m George Dunkel with Special Districts Association of Oregon. I’m one of their senior consultants…

[00:03:14] The press probably doesn’t get this very often—a compliment. Remember what their role is. Their role in attending executive session is to keep you honest. That’s their role. Okay? Their role (in an executive session) isn’t to report on what you’re discussing. Their role is to keep you on subject, what you said you were going into executive session for, that’s what you do.

[00:03:32] And I observed this with a port district down on the coast here a few years ago. And when the meeting was finally over and we were done, I walked up to the person, the representative of the press and I said, ‘That’s the best display of press participation in the executive session I’ve ever seen.’

[00:03:44] What the lady did was,… she had her little book with her pen and when the chair called the executive session to order, she laid it down and she just sat there and listened.

[00:03:52] And all of a sudden (I’m in there with them), they wandered off and she just reached over and picked up her notepad and the chair saw it and he goes, ‘Hold it, folks. We’re off subject.’ And she set it back down and I went, ‘She absolutely knew her role,’ you know. It was excellent. But anyway, thank you, press.

[00:04:15] John Q: Your role in reporting neighborhood news supports the whole community. Check out our collaborative tools online and share your stories. We’ll recognize your volunteer hours in the time bank.


The local government search tool is available at https://journaliststudio.google.com/pinpoint/search?collection=7be842fbca27df8d .

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