Become a Documenter

Documenters are citizens and civic actors; creators and collaborators; representing a broad base of intergenerational, diverse communities.


City Bureau recruits, trains and pays this group of highly engaged citizens to participate in the news-gathering process and contribute to a communal pool of knowledge in Chicago and Detroit.

Q What can I learn as a Documenter?

A A lot about the place where you live!

What is your City Council talking about this week? What are Local School Councils, and what community power do they have? What neighborhood is the police department doing outreach in? Who governs your water?

In addition to gathering and distributing information to your community, Documenters learn a range of skills like interviewing, notetaking, live-tweeting, mobile audio/video and mobile photography by attending City Bureau trainings that are free and open to the public.

View Public Trainings
Explore our Documenters Field Guide

Q What do Documenters do for the public good?

A Documenters participate in a range of City Bureau projects, including:

Attending and documenting public governance meetings and civic events—increasing the role of news, information and storytelling in public discourse—using data and official reports to provide context to important issues—and providing critical feedback on decisions that affect the Documenters program.