COVID-19 has undoubtedly caused a multitude of problems in our communities. However, it has led to one beneficial change. Live streaming of public meetings became common during the stay-at-home order, and it is one thing we hope sticks around.
When meetings began being streamed online, we were amazed to see the number of viewers climb each week. At a typical public meeting, it is rare to see one community member, let alone five or six. Yet, with the streaming meetings, it is common to see 40 to 50 other people logged on and watching at the same time. This tells us people want to be involved in the process but are unable to attend meetings in person.
City and county commission meetings are held in the morning, when most community members are at work, unable to leave to attend a meeting. School board meetings are typically held in the evenings, when most parents are busy getting their children dinner and baths. Few parents have the time or the extra funds to pay a babysitter so they can attend a school board meeting. Yet, if you stream the meeting, they log in and watch.
Continuing the process of streaming meetings will increase transparency and engagement with the community. It isn’t that community members don’t want to engage, it is that they haven’t been able to via traditional means. Please continue streaming those meetings and keep our community engaged.
The McPherson News-Ledger Editorial Board