Via Citizens Union Foundation


To create Councilpedia, a web project that will help Gotham Gazette expand coverage of New York lawmakers by tapping into what the public knows

The online Gotham Gazette, which focuses on New York City issues, will use this grant to expand its City Council coverage with a wiki devoted to local legislators. 

Crowd-sourcing is the practice of asking a community to contribute its knowledge to a report on a given topic. Wikis are web pages that anyone can contribute to or edit. These techniques are combined in this grant to engage citizens to more actively participate in local politics. This project will enlist New Yorkers to scrutinize records and share what they know about local legislators, their actions, and their funders.

This contributed information will be moderated and vetted by the nonprofit news organization, the Gotham Gazette. Councilpedia is a test of whether or not New Yorkers will collectively report on their city council using the methods that millions of people worldwide have used to create and check their own encyclopedia, Wikipedia. With this grant, Gotham Gazette will expand its City Council coverage through a wiki devoted to local legislators and those who donate to the legislators’ campaigns. The project will provide coverage and context about campaign contributions and voting records.

We expect this “crowd sourcing” and “citizen journalism” to encourage richer coverage that usual of local political campaigns as well as greater public participation in the election. An improved understanding of the money behind local politics should lead to news stories that would not have known about if Councilpedia did not exist. Ultimately, we hope this project creates a better informed, more engaged citizenry and a more open government.

Project Team

Citizens Union Foundation