Got a question for City officials?
Our journalists are here to bring your questions to City Hall on your behalf. Just click the button below and ask away. We'll get straight to work.
This project has one big goal: to connect local residents with people who work (or want to work) at City Hall. This includes people running for mayor and other elected positions. It also includes City Hall staff. The project has four major steps.
Step 1: Collect your questions
To connect residents with City Hall, we’ll start by collecting your questions. These questions can be for one specific person or group of people. They can also be undirected if you don’t know who to ask. There is no such thing as a bad question. You can also submit as many questions as you would like. Your questions can be anonymous, confidential, or attached to your name. They can come from one person or a group. There are virtually no rules about what or how you ask. All we as is for you to be genuine.
Step 2: Determine how to answer them
Next, we’ll choose how to answer your questions. As journalists, we use different kinds of stories to provide different types of information. Here are some story formats we might use for this project:
These stories are very short and focused on a single resource. They often include one resource that responds to a particular problem.
These stories explore topics important to the community. They always include the topic’s who, what, when, where, why, and how. They typically focus on one or more people or groups affected by the topic. They usually include a variety of perspectives from the community.
These stories typically use one of three formats. Sometimes, they are “how-to” guides that explain how to do things. Other times, they are “where-to” guides that explain where to do things. Occasionally, they’re “who’s-who” guides that explain who’s involved.
Question-and-answer articles (Q&A’s)
These stories present questions and lightly edited responses to those questions. They include responses from one or more people or groups.
These stories focus on responses to problems. Typically, they include six things. First, they focus mostly on a solution. Second, they focus on a solution that is already happening. Third, they include different angles and sources of information. Fourth, they offer evidence that supports or does not support the solution. Fifth, they explore limitations. Finally, they include information that readers can use to take action.
Step 3: Find answers
We will use our reporting skills to find you answers. These skills include making phone calls, sending emails, and interviewing people. It also involves digging through government websites and databases. Plus, visiting places in person to verify what we are told.
Step 4: Publish and share the answers we find
We will publish our stories in the most accessible way possible. We will make them accessible in the following ways:
All stories will be available as audio.
We will publish everything in English and Spanish. All Spanish stories will be translated and edited locally.
Eighth-grade reading level
We will write stories at an eighth-grade reading level.
Online and print stories
We will publish all stories on our website and in our print newspapers. We will also link to them on social media.
This project is paid for by a $25,000 grant from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism through its Every Voice, Every Vote initiative. That grant covers our news reporting costs for this project. Here is a full list of organizations funded through that initiative:
Ready to ask City Hall a question?
We’re waiting to hear what’s on your mind, so ask away.
Have questions about the project?
Please email your questions to our newsroom at email@example.com.