Council meetings online? Great idea


City Councilman Roy Johnson told me last week that he’d like to see the council’s meetings aired live and archived online in the near future. I think it’s a great idea.

This is not being discussed by the city or the council, but Johnson said he plans to bring it up soon. There are some factors, he said, which have yet to be researched. For example, how much would this cost? And how difficult would it be to prepare the city’s cable broadcast of these meetings for viewing on the Web? We’re far from knowing the answers to these questions, it seems, but unless the time and financial costs are completely outrageous, it seems like a worthy investment.

Carmel is one of many cities using this technology, and it’s more beneficial than some might think. First, it allows those who cannot attend meetings or watch them live on TV to view them at their convenience. This is much more informative than simply reading the minutes from past meetings. Secondly, having the ability to revisit previous meetings and know exactly what was said about a given topic will help everyone interested in local government to be better informed – including reporters.

I like this idea not only because it would help me as a journalist, but it is in line with what I’m trying to do at Current in Noblesville.

You may have noticed that, in recent weeks, the amount of city news in Current has increased. That isn’t a fluke. When I came to this paper late last year, this is one area in which multiple people told me the publication was lacking. So while we will still feature stories like Chuck Shearman’s, which is on the cover of this issue, Current will continue to include more city government news, too.

In my personal experience working for newspapers, I’ve found that, when people have more access to information about their local government – whether that information is coming from the city itself, the media, or both – they are more likely to take a greater interest.

I’m not making it my mission to get more butts in the seats every other Tuesday night in the council chambers. Whether or not people attend these meetings is not of great concern to me, but the information should be accessible, regardless. And that’s why I believe Johnson’s idea is a good one.

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