Where do my city’s leaders get their information?

Similar to us all, the public leaders we look up to each day require information about the world and, also similar to us all, where and how they get it varies.

The perspectives of local leaders matter significantly and, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), local leaders help better deliver information to the public by framing the issues in local terms, building partnerships in the community, promoting resilience for citizens and getting important messages out to constituents. 

Understanding the responsibilities of public officials helps create more context for why it is important for a city’s leaders to be well-informed by a variety of information from different sources. 

To learn more about this, Keizertimes reached out to Keizer’s leaders and asked about where they acquired different types of information for local and national news as well as entertainment and weather information.

The local leaders who responded include: Representative Kevin Mannix, Mayor Cathy Clark, Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell, Police Chief Andrew Copeland, former City Attorney Shannon Johnson, Councilor Robert Husseman and McNary High School principal Scott Gragg. 

The gathered data revealed a number of interesting things when looking at where leader’s appear to most often get their news. 

Local information sources had 19 different types of publications mentioned and 38 separate accounts of these sources being used, and national information sources showed 23 different publications mentioned with 30 accounts of these sources being used. 

Overall, the split between the amount of different publications that represent local or national interests was relatively even with around 45% of responses showcasing local news. 

This is balanced by the notion that while local publications made up 45% of the mentioned sources, they make up 56% of how often those sources were accessed by respondents. 

This may suggest that due to the smaller number of local publications available, publications that are more prominent will garner more attention. 

It also may indicate that while respondents seemed to be more aware of different national-type sources, they sought out local sources more, possibly due to the nature of their public-facing jobs. 

The data also displayed the percentages for the types of media gathered and how much overall was gathered. 

The majority of information sources people reported were Local news sources (37.8%), Entertainment (31.1%), National news sources (26.7%) and Weather information sources (4.4 %). 

When looking at the types of information sources reported by the number of times it was reported the data shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that local news publications within Oregon appeared as the most prominently reported sources. 

The most reported publications overall were all local news, Keizertimes (5), Salem Reporter (4), Statesman Journal (4) and The Oregonian (4). 

Green circles indicate a local source while blue indicates a national source

With these four publications garnering the most attention from Keizer’s leadership, a number of inferences can be drawn.

First and foremost is the notion that city leadership finds value in local news in the sense that it can give them a better idea about what is happening within their constituency. 

It may also be the case that, as local news publications that cover political and governmental topics, city leaders have a desire to keep abreast of what is reported about themselves, their positions or their goals. 

Regardless of the motivation, this signals that Keizer leadership pays the most attention to what is happening locally in their area. 

Data not displayed here shows even more interesting findings in regards to where leadership gathered their information as all respondents reported looking at least three different sources of information. 

This calls on an important theme when looking for information that looking for more than one source, and if possible oppositional sources, only helps better strengthen your grasp of a subject. 

According to the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), by seeking out multiple sources and not relying on a single one, you gain a greater capacity to critique events as well as become less likely to be fooled by a single perspective.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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Contact Keizertimes Staff:
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more.