In my opinion, the big challenge as a responsible resident of the city of Lansing is staying informed about the who, what, when, where, how, why and so what of city government.
How do you do it?
The local newspaper? In our case, it's the Lansing State Journal. During the past year, I've read the State Journal pretty carefully. I've searched for coverage of Lansing City Council meetings, features about city government, profiles of city leaders and I've been disappointed consistently.
Now you could mention the local television news. My impression is that their news departments depend on the State Journal as a tip sheet for what they will cover on any given day. So, if it's not in the paper, the station won't cover it.
Take Mayor Bernero's State of the City address. Page one of the State Journal carries a teaser about the speech which leads to an inside section page. That page carries four paragraphs and then jumps the story to an inside page where there are about a dozen paragraphs. There are three highlight boxes of one paragraph each. They don't print a copy of the whole speech.
There reaction, but it's from developers and officials and that's it. The photo on the section page shows Bernero with city and community leaders.
Next I went to the city's website to look for coverage on the Mayor's speech. That should be a no-brainer, right? How about a podcast of the speech? Another no-brainer, right? Nothing there.
I went to the Lansing City Council's portion of the website and it didn't work. At least, it didn't work on my new Apple iBook G4. Somebody is not paying attention to web standards.
As a resident, where do I go for a complete look at what our leader sees as the challenges and the solutions for our city? There's a communications wall there between him and the people he represents and he didn't surmount it, in my opinion. Too bad. It's a missed opportunity.
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