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Detroit Documenters has officially partnered with WXYZ as the first TV station to join a collaborative network of newsrooms that support the civic engagement program. WXYZ will work with eight radio, print and online news outlets to support and build on Documenters’ reporting.
Documenters are trained and paid to attend and take notes on public meetings, creating a more robust public record of what’s happening in local government. Journalists from outlets in the Detroit Documenters network edit the notes before they’re published online for anyone to read and for journalists to use in their reporting.
Candice Fortman, executive director of Outlier Media, which facilitates the Detroit Documenters program, said she’s thrilled to welcome WXYZ to the Documenters community.
“From the very beginning of our conversations with the news team at Channel 7, it was clear they understood the vision and mission of Documenters and the necessity of a collaborative approach to covering local government — particularly in a time when local newsrooms are shrinking,” Fortman said.
Many Detroiters depend on television news to fill their information needs, which made it critical for Documenters’ work to expand to include a TV partnership like this one, she said.
WXYZ Senior News Director Kennan C. Oliphant said his station is also excited about the partnership.
“Being partners with an organization that cares so much about the community aligns with WXYZ’s strategies and goals,” Oliphant said. “We feel like this will be a long-lasting relationship, one that will ultimately benefit readers and viewers of southeastern Michigan.”
WXYZ Digital Executive Producer Maxwell White will start editing Documenters notes this week and include Documenters’ coverage in WXYZ’s reporting moving forward.
In addition to Outlier Media and WXYZ, the Detroit Documenters network of media partners includes BridgeDetroit, Chalkbeat Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Metro Times, Michigan Radio, Planet Detroit and WDET.