Colorado State Mayors Insensitive to Media Visibility? – Media Attention Analysis

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Visibility
Visibility
Spining

Introduction

Who is a Colorado state mayor and does his or her media presence and visibility matter?

In Colorado, a mayor is a city’s executive officer. It is an elected position governed by the constitution. A mayor’s responsibility is to ensure that the city’s ordinances and regulations are enforced within the parameters of the constitution and laws. Importantly, a mayor is a “conservator of the peace” in the city hence his public visibility matters.

Media visibility simply refers to volume of attention and prominence the media allots to a news subject in terms of number of stories, placement of the story, space and position given to the story, with an intent of achieving hierarchy of importance and less important. The basic idea behind news visibility is to communicate a sense of importance by drawing the public mental awareness towards an issue, subject or personality it considers worthy of a certain degree of editorial attention. In practice, certain news items appear in the headline or the front page whilst others become sandwiched at the tail end of stories. The media, attaches same news selection visibility mechanisms towards the coverage of political actors such as mayors.

In our 21st century, political actors such mayors’ or CEOs media visibility continue to draw mix views due to a shift in the publics social and economic expectations from leaderships’ actors. Perhaps the question to be asked about mayoral visibility is, is it about influence or mere visibility?

First, others think mayoral media visibility is sort of overdue since public leadership is tilting more towards societal impact and influence of the leader than pictorial visibility. In addition, mayoral visibility shouldn’t be confused with mere political popularity but a functional visibility that elicits trust, credibility and impacts on needs and challenges of the society.

Also, mayors’ brand visibility is a functional process which leverages on political gains, it is also about how the public sees a mayor’s brand identity, in terms of how his or her political attributes, societal achievements, are projected by the media within competitive political efforts.

Mayoral visibility is therefore a strategic policy and communication effort towards achieving and sustaining public exposure through the media. It must be emphasized; visibility is very important in mayoral-brand communication; it hinges on who sees or feel your mayoral brand, the associated attributes of the brand, and their impact on the citizens of your city. In addition, mayoral media visibility is about the relation between a mayor’s reputational identity and public presence.

Whatever be the case, media visibility is of critical importance in mayoral brands communication, it is a process of drawing attention and recognition towards a mayor’s activity and political identity. Critically, a mayor’s media attention and visibility are intrinsically linked to a mayor’s city, identity, trust, competence, reputation, success and performance and should be highly considered in planning mayoral public communication strategies.

Moreover, a mayor’s media visibility is an embodiment of a city’s investment collateral since attention given to a mayor could lead to an investment flow towards a city. Subsequently, mayors with less media prominence may repel investment flow.   It is against the importance of media visibility’s impact on the mayoral public identity and city that this study is developed to ascertain whether Colorado mayors consider media visibility as part of their strategic communication planning. The study results’ extract below suggest that many mayors haven’t laid emphasis on their media visibility strategy and may be described as a poor performance of mayors’ strategic communication efforts and public attention driven strategies.

Mayors Prominence Rankings: Who is Who

The study used news content measurement coding approach to   analyzed 179 online news portals relating to Colorado mayors from January to June 2022.

 

A total of 38 Colorado mayors were covered in news stories. A total of 1337 news headlines reported on the mayors.

 

The focus of this visibility measurement was on the appearance of a mayor in the news headline and the lead whilst excluding the body and tail of the news story since the main objective of news headlines is to generate public attention to news worthiness.  In terms of overall mayors’ visibility,31 mayors appeared in the news headlines whilst 7 mayors of Bennett, Bow Mar, Castle Pines, Foxfield, Columbine Valley and Sheridan had no appearance.

 

Denver mayor had the highest visibility followed by Lakewood, Aurora and in the order as depicted in the data extract chart. From a critical prominence perspective, only 10 mayors of Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Centennial, Denver, Erie, Louisville, Nederland, Superior and Thornton   had actual news headline mention and prominence by appearing in the headlines whilst the rest appeared in the leads of the news headlines.

 

Although this study was six months study, the results is not encouraging it reflects, to some extent, the mayor’s insensitivity towards media coverage as civic engagement.  In future, Colorado mayors could strengthen their strategic public communication efforts in order to gain the needed media visibility.

 

A consistent media monitoring instruments should be adapted by the mayors to track and measure their public appearance and its impact on their cities. A mayor, as CEO of a city, has his public visibility intrinsically linked to the city itself hence invisible city could subsequently be invisible to investors as a whole.

 

That is to say, media visibility of a mayor is a continuous public engagement and remain critical due to its influence on society especially when visibility is consistently linked to societal needs and aspirations.  In this era of fleeting citizens journalism in blogs, tweets, Instagram, online news, Facebook, TikTok and many, a mayor’s media visibility is a way of taking part in a city’s developmental narratives.

About the Author:   Messan Mawugbe (PhD) is a strategic corporate communication consultant and a lecturer.  From: The Meadows Castle Rock: Colorado.   Email: nekzy@yahoo.com

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