Addressing a critical coverage gap in local news.
We attend and document meetings in six under-covered townships across Centre County, Pennsylvania —
Benner, College, Gregg, Halfmoon, Snow Shoe, and Spring.
Centre Documenters is part of a nationwide network, dedicated to building a corps of “curious citizens” equipped with the skills necessary to support local government transparency.
Unlike journalists, documenters aren’t writing news stories or prioritizing what information they share. They documents discussions, interactions, and decisions at a meeting, add ‘notes from your documenter’ with definitions and context, and make those meeting notes available to anyone who wants them — via a newsletter, texting service, and this website.
Since September 2023, the News Lab at Penn State has recruited and trained 20 student documenters and three student editors. These student documenters have worked to navigate the challenges residents face when attending public meetings: cancellations, transportation, locating agendas, understanding the topics being discussed, and sometimes being the only people in attendance. As part of their training, documenters attended and took notes at 25 meetings.
In 2024, Centre Documenters will document 30 meetings each month.