Education & Government
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Jill Holtz
Content Strategy Manager

How streaming for public meetings enhances accessibility and engagement

September 8, 2023
0 min read
How streaming for public meetings enhances accessibility and engagement

The way we engage with our public institutions is undergoing a profound transformation in this digital age. And, in one particular area — public meetings — technology is leading the charge to open up accessibility and foster engagement.

Traditionally confined to physical attendance or limited broadcast coverage, public meetings are now breaking free from these constraints through the power of technology. This paradigm shift is redefining the relationship between citizens and their governments to foster greater inclusivity, transparency, and participation.

Here, we'll explore the significance of streaming for public meetings, find out how this digital evolution is reshaping the way citizens interact with public organizations, show you some examples of organizations using livestreaming to engage citizens, and discover why streaming public meetings is a practice that is rapidly gaining momentum for its potential to enhance accessibility and engagement.

Public meetings – why stream?

Public meetings serve as critical forums for education and government, fostering transparency and civic engagement. Streaming offers numerous benefits for both communities and governing bodies.

Several states and cities also require governments to broadcast their meetings to the public, while in the education sector, at least two states, Indiana and Massachusetts, have already put mandates in place for all school board meetings to be livestreamed starting in 2025, with more states likely to follow.

School board meetings, for instance, allow parents, teachers, and community members to voice concerns through public comment, feel like they have input and oversight on policies, and know that they are actively participating in shaping the educational landscape for the next generation.

In government, public meetings are the cornerstone of democracy. They provide a platform for citizens to hold officials accountable, offer input on legislative matters, and witness decision-making processes firsthand.

Streaming meetings helps bridge the gap between governance and the governed. It promotes informed citizenship, trust and shared responsibility with the public — those whom the school board or local council represent.

Delivering accessibility and engagement beyond the physical

Streaming public meetings also enhances accessibility for a broader audience, including those with mobility challenges, shift workers, or other constraints that simply don’t allow them to attend in person.


  • A parent who is busy balancing work with family life and caring for older relatives, the home, etc.
  • An older citizen who has to use a mobility scooter or needs assistance with driving
  • A shift worker at a local factory whose work schedule often includes evening shifts
  • A student with classes who also works part-time

Streaming promotes inclusivity and ensures that all citizens can participate in the democratic process or their school district.

Those who can't watch it in real time also have the opportunity to watch it later at their convenience.

Transparency and accountability

Streaming public meetings promotes transparency and accountability by allowing citizens to witness discussions and decisions in real time.

Transparency has a huge role in building public trust in government and schools, helping to shed insight on decision-making and reducing skepticism by keeping stakeholders well-informed about the board's activities, decisions and initiatives. No one can say they didn’t know what was being discussed or why a decision was made.

By leveraging streaming to enhance public trust and transparency, school districts and local government can strengthen their relationships with the community, improve decision-making processes, and demonstrate their commitment to effective governance and accountability.

Engaging a digital generation

With the changing demographics of civic engagement, and younger generations being more accustomed to digital communication, there’s also an opportunity to align with the preferences of tech-savvy citizens while encouraging their active participation in public meetings.

New streaming technologies, such as Diligent Community’s Video Manager, integrate with agenda and minutes applications, so that viewers can go directly to a timestamp where they want to view meetings. Viewers can see a split screen of the meeting and the agenda and follow along.

Clerks and school administrators can also set up automated closed-captioning to display on the screen to further enhance accessibility.

Examples of public sector organizations using livestreaming

Here are some organizations that have implemented livestreaming for their public meetings:

  • After implementing livestreaming and archiving of their council meetings, New York City reported a substantial increase in citizen engagement. The Council found that the number of viewers for livestreams and archived meetings had increased significantly, enabling more residents to stay informed and participate remotely in the decision-making process.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District, one of the largest school districts in the United States, began livestreaming its board meetings and budget discussions. This led to a notable increase in attendance and participation by parents, teachers, and community members, who could now tune in from their homes or workplaces.
  • School districts in Chicago began streaming school board meetings online, allowing parents, teachers, and community members to follow education-related discussions and decisions more easily. This approach has encouraged participation from those who might not have been able to attend in person.

It’s efficient and cost-effective to stream

If you are not already doing so, now is the time for local governments and school districts to invest in livestreaming video as a means to engage all citizens, including the younger populations, in their local community. Consider the potential of streaming as one of your tools for shaping the future of public engagement.

But if you are hesitant due to cost concerns, the good news is that live video streaming for public meetings is very cost-effective and also helps deliver efficiency and time savings, as it substantially reduces the manual workload on administrators.

Final thoughts

The benefits of streaming public meetings are clear in terms of accessibility, engagement, transparency, and accountability. All serve to increase citizen involvement, improve decision-making, and enhance community relations.

Learn more about Diligent Community and how it can help support your transparency efforts through livestreaming of public meetings.


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