We live in a country that believes power is best exercised by a herd and not a shepherd. So for reporters to learn how government works, they must be good at seeing and reporting on collaboration. Here’s how to do that and, along the way, discover what makes some governments succeed.
Compromises are ways of opening the door to change by reducing the objections of interest groups. They are at the heart of decision making in city halls and are the closest thing in politics to an art form. Here’s what reporters should know about how compromises come about . . . and why.
Perhaps the most underanalyzed but important part of local government is the city council. The key is knowing how much councils are shaped by their form of government and election processes. Here’s a look at how council members work with mayors, city managers, and one another, and how these habits are influenced by structure and representation. Don’t worry: There are some good story ideas here, too.
When you’re taking on a major urban problem, the best way to begin isn’t with a single great action but with a series of small, reinforcing actions. By doing so, you recognize the complexity of cities and build early momentum. And that lays the groundwork for bold actions to follow.
This is may be the most critical phase for civic projects because it requires so much from leaders, including the ability to plan, a mastery of detail, and a willingness to ask others for help. It demands commitment and the ability to focus.