civicobserver.com is a venture in journalism that seeks to educate Minnesota in public life by reporting on stories geared toward government affairs, media literacy, and building understanding between divided communities. Addressing issues detailed with the standard practices of modern news media, civicobserver.com aims to develop a news model where content is largely driven, and funded, by the community it serves.

Benjamin, J.D., and Mark founded the agency under the principles of transparency, accountability, dialog, reliability, and collaboration, which are defined by Mike Ananny and Daniel Kreiss in A New Contract for the Press: Copyright, Public Domain Journalism, and Self-Governance in a Digital Age. The authors convincingly argue that these journalistic practices support inclusive, diverse, and quality public communication and are what guide the Civic Observer toward developing a sustainable model of credible community-driven journalism.


Modern news media is in a crisis of credibility and the integrity of public information is at stake. Americans have been increasingly tuning out since the golden age of journalism, which causes incremental cutbacks in funding and producers scrambling to boost ratings as newsroom budgets slowly decline. To resolve this issue, communities need to take matters into their own hands and have a greater stake in the institution of press, so that the diverse population of Minnesota is accurately portrayed and news agencies are held accountable for their practices.

civicobserver.com is founded by three part-time journalists working to create the best place for civics-related news in Minnesota. Benjamin, J.D., and Mark are incrementally building the website and currently providing content for free. As broke college students attending Minneapolis Community & Technical College, the stark reality of needing money to keep housing and eat food distracts from these efforts. We would love nothing more than to build a publication that provides the resources to pay full-time journalists, and more, for many years to come.

Help us strengthen participatory democracy by following our social media accounts, sharing posts and facilitating productive discourse, providing feedback and tips to our editors and contributors, or making a financial contribution of any size, so that we can continue producing civics content for the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Together we have the power to fix broken news and strengthen America.