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Transcript of Perspective
Role & Ethics
Journalists have the duty and privilege to seek and report the truth, encourage civic debate to build our communities, and serve the public interest.
Canadian Association of Journalists
THE TENETS of CIVIC / PUBLIC JOURNALISM
Situates journalists as active participants in community life, rather than as spectators."
Newspaper is a forum for discussion of community issues.
Focus of news coverage is on issues, events and problems important to ordinary people.
Embrace public opinion through the process of discussion and debate among members of a community."
Use journalism to enhance social capital.
Role of Municipal Council
The legislated role of municipal councils in Ontario
Section 224 of the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001: It is the role of council,
to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality
to develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality
to determine which services the municipality provides
to ensure that administrative policies, practices, procedures and controllership are in place to implement the decisions of council
(d.1) to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management
to maintain the financial integrity of the municipality and
to carry out the duties of council under this or any other act
EXAMPLE: 02-28-14 London Free Press: Council's budget marathon was flirting with Friday spill-over
Analysis of Select News Media
Articles and Thoughts on
Potential for More Positive
Considerations used to identify selected news articles
Role & Duties of Municipal Council
Role of Journalism
Principles of ethical journalism (CAJ)
Tenets of civic (public ) journalism
Best practices for media relations
Frame of Reference
PUBLIC INTEREST : Was served by Council- fulfilled its role - article does not speak to this - article speaks to conflicts in process not due diligence, debate
BIAS/FACT/TRUTH: Tone -
"until his rabbit appeared" "failed to win any support for off-the-wall suggestions"
ORDINARY PEOPLE: Reaction not included
SOCIAL CAPITAL: Generally speaking article, as well as ongoing coverage of budget deliberations, does not speak to community cohesion, impact
EXAMPLE 03-07-14 London Free Press: City Facing 3 Complaints
PUBLIC INTEREST :
(d.1) to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality
- fair game to examine whether the meeting was in compliance; scope and impact
BIAS/FACT/TRUTH: Tone -
"London city council could be on a crash course with Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin "
ORDINARY PEOPLE: Article pivots on 3 complaints
SOCIAL CAPITAL: No exploration in the article or subsequent articles about transparency mechanisms; or follow up on public reaction from the situation
No quick fix
Focus on a
short term & long term
; inclusive, buy-in and participation of key elected & administrative leaders.
KEY ELEMENTS OF STRATEGY
Ongoing Relationship building
Enhance service culture
Focus on facts, accountabilities and roles
Create and continue to invest in City of London own information channels
Project Manage /Brand Major City of London Communications initiative
Ongoing Relationship Building
Ask journalists what would help them do their work
City of London Communications Department positioned as a service bureau to news media - if already in place, find ways to enhance
For example: Create inventory of fact sheets and keep them current and available; create web portal for news media with quick and easy access to all statistical and quick facts information; after hours call rotation; Contact reference sheets - who to call for what and when
Build City of London Info Channels
Maximize and legitimize City of London social media channels as the go to source for pubic information - increase followers and audiences and ask readers and followers to tell YOU what they want to read and hear about
BOOST Twitter followers 3X - 4X currnent level 11.2K; hone in on demographic group with greatest potential to follow
Use voting and polls to secure and gauge feedback & attract followers
Continue to build, nuture maintain trusted, constructive relationships with news media - frontline to front office
Ensure daily, routine dialogue with representatives
Speak the Truth -(info provided is truthful and accurate)
Clear Policies - spokesperson
Preparedness - anticipate what the news will be - every day - every hour
Communicate Openly - the good and the bad
Speak to the Public Interest
Use Plain Language
Media Relations is a strategic process requiring thorough planning to shift from REACTIVE to PROACTIVE approach - it is ONE of the components utilized in organizational communications
Media relations is an ongoing and continuous practice to provide for journalists being well informed about the organization and its issues
Media Relations -Process & Practice
General Best Practices
Service Bureau Model
10 Minute Road Map
Frame of Reference
News Articles Selected & Observations
Thoughts on Strategies to Enhance News Coverage and Community Dialogue
Project Manage & Brand Major Communications Initiatives
Leverage the success experienced with Planning Department ReTHINK Londonn project
Project approach and use of branding enables opportunity to measure and report on engagement and understanding and to reposition
In closing ...
Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about the City of London and its communications environment
Christine Clark Lafleur