About us

The Need

Local government meetings are long and mostly boring. But big decisions are made that affect us all. With the decline of local news media, it has become difficult for residents to stay informed about their local governments. This lack of information leads to lower participation, reduced accountability, and a less healthy democracy.

Our Mission

We're on a mission to expand thoughtful and consistent participation in democracy, starting with local government. We envision a nation where residents are well-informed about their local governments, the issues that matter in their community, and the views of diverse stakeholders. We believe that everyone should know their local elected leaders, their positions, and how they govern.

Our Approach

See Gov creates and distributes video highlights of local government meetings. These highlights help residents understand their local governments, a key step to increasing thoughtful and consistent participation. See Gov uses a combination of automated (AI) and human curation to produce the highlights. The focus is on showing source video of elected officials, staff, and community members.

Status and Support

See Gov is a nonprofit founded in September 2023 by Alex Rosen, our Executive Director. A generous donor provided funding for prototyping, user research, and development of our scaling plan. We are currently seeking grants from organizations and individuals committed to strengthening democracy, expanding local journalism, and responsibly using AI.


FAQs

Why video highlights?

Numerous tools exist for summarizing meeting transcripts. These are valuable in a business context. But, they don't work as well with long government meetings. They are also less likely to expand participation to those who are not yet engaged in local government.

Video highlights are a more impactful approach to expanding participation. The highlights help people identify their local government representatives and community members. They provide a channel for residents to hear directly from these individuals. The highlights foster better understanding, create lasting memories of those involved in local government and their perspectives, and increase the likelihood of thoughtful participation.


Why use AI?

There are too many local government meetings to be summarized by individuals. We applaud efforts like the Documenters Network and we recognize the benefits that come from engaging community members in attending and documenting meetings. We hope that our technology will support these people-powered efforts, perhaps by making it easier for them to more easily, and effectively, share what they found most important in a meeting..


Won't AI make things up?

The AI that people have become familiar with recently does have a tendency to make things up. That's helpful in generating fiction, but terrible for understanding government meetings.

Instead of writing, we use AI to evaluate the text in meeting transcripts, identify people's statements and question/answer sequences, then find the ones that are most likely of interest to residents. We then provide the actual meeting recording of the moment. Users can also move forward and back to get more context.

While we can share these AI-selected highlights directly with residents, we encourage journalists and community members to use this AI-assistance to streamline the creation of their own highlight reels. This approach allows for adding more context and the creation of highlist reels that aren't yet possible with AI alone.


What about using YouTube chapters?

Some governments add chapters to their meeting videos on YouTube. These help viewers who are looking to see what happened on specific agenda items. But they don't help those who want a quick overview of important discussions and actions.

The chapters we've seen are based on agenda items. The agenda items that are most interesting or important often have an hour or more of discussion. This shows up as a single chapter, which isn't helpful for people with limited time.


Why a nonprofit?

The commercial market for local news has failed in many communities across the US, leaving large local news deserts. Given this dynamic, it seems unlikely that a for-profit service focused on local government meetings would succeed. But more than that, being a nonprofit keeps all of our focus on our mission instead of maximizing profits.

As with other nonprofits, we seek grants and donations. If those who can afford to will support our work we will be able to make the service broadly available and maintain operations.

We are exploring options for ethical advertising, but this is not a focus for us at this time.


Our values

Democracy: Support democracy, not individuals, other causes, or parties.

Long-Term Impact: Create sustainable infrastructure for democracy.

Empowerment: Enable residents to engage with their government. Build skills among those on our team.

Inclusion: Be inclusive in who we serve and use a broad range of perspectives to guide our work.

Innovation: Seek out and be open to innovative ways to achieve our mission.

Collaboration: Create more impact by working with partners, other organizations, and individuals.

Appreciation: Value the work we do and the people who do it.

Accountability: Be transparent about our work and finances. Be responsive to feedback.

Our team

Leadership and Board

avatar
Alex Rosen

Executive Director

avatar
Sarah Sachs

Board Member

avatar
Rebecca Moore

Board Member

Advisors

avatar
Greg Bishop

Multimedia Journalist

avatar
Jeff Schneider

AI Expert

avatar
Dan Cote

Marketing/Community

avatar
Andrea Verykoukis

Nonprofit News Leader

Organization

See Gov, Inc. is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation.
We are tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
Our EIN is 93-3662457.