The Detroit Documenters program trains and pays Detroiters to attend local public meetings and monitor elected officials, in collaboration with local journalists. Hundreds of residents are active in the program, bringing more transparency to local government, through their meeting notes, live tweets and civic participation.

This April, we’re featuring Documenter, native Detroiter and journalist-in-training Amelia Benavides-Colón:

Amelia Benavides-Colón is finishing her junior year at Wayne State University, where she works as the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The South End. She is proud of reporting on stories that are important to her community in Southwest Detroit through her internships with The Detroit News and Crain’s Detroit Business. Check out some of her reporting about the demolition of a historic church, community support of a local bookstore and the effects of rehabilitating the Michigan Central train depot.

Amelia said she was surprised to find the Board of Police Commissioners the most interesting agency to cover. She didn’t realize how “convoluted and complex our whole government is, and you can really see that play out at the BOPC.” 

Outside of her passion for journalism, Amelia loves to volunteer and attend shows at The Senate Theater. The silent movies are her favorite because “there’s this powerful moment when the entire audience is engrossed in the film, and the entire audio is carried by one man at the organ.” 


Amelia Benavides-Colón



What I do in my spare time:

Cuddle with my cats, write, watch reality television and spend hours on TikTok.

What I love about being a Detroit Documenter:

I’m paying it forward every day.

One thing I want to get from the Documenters community:

With Documenters, I want to learn more about how to report on and analyze local government, and how it can be used in solutions journalism across the city.

One thing I can give to the Documenters community:

I’m a native Detroiter along with my family and have strong cultural ties to the city. I’m excited to use my skills as a journalist to tell the stories of my community.

Favorite local restaurant or small business: 

The Senate Theater is a 1920s era movie house and organ theater in Southwest Detroit and my absolute favorite place to spend a Saturday night.

How you can reach me:

Twitter: @benavides_colon | LinkedIn: Amelia Benavides-Colón

Lynelle (she/her) likes working with Documenters because she thinks it’s important for us to share our news and our voices with our neighbors and networks. Her favorite spaces in Detroit are the urban gardens that promote peace, hope, health and healing.