Medway Council offers recognition for citizen journalists at its meetings
Medway Council leader Cllr Rodney Chambers
The lonely Medway Messenger reporter sitting through interminable meetings at Medway Council is going to have company.
The authority is believed to be one of the first in the country to set aside a row of seats for ‘citizen journalists’ as it "values the work they do scrutinising the authority".
The council’s Full Council meetings take place at the St George’s Centre in Chatham and when they are held, about six people regularly come along and Tweet what is happening before them.
But anyone wanting to join them might be advised to bring a flask of cocoa - last Thursday's deliberations went on until 12.30am.
The authority, led by Cllr Rodney Chambers, pictured above, will make the row available (usually at the front) to try and ensure they have a place to sit.
The council has already Tweeted this message to announce this news and will ask ‘citizen journalists’ on the day to tweet us to say they are coming – as spaces will be limited.
Cllr Alan Jarrett, deputy leader and head of finance, said: “We are very keen to engage with people and to help them play a part in local democracy.
“Our council meetings do get a number of people turning up in the public gallery including citizen journalists who spend the night Tweeting about what is being said.
“It is important that councils are open and accountable and we want to help people who give up their time to tell their followers about our meetings.”
The row of seats will usually be at the front of the council’s public gallery, unless there is a specific reason that others may need accommodating there.
As spaces are limited, Medway Council is asking those who wish to use the ‘citizen journalists’ row on the night of Full Council meetings to please Tweet them @medway_council on the day.
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