City communications machine churns, but …


How do Kansas City residents like to get their communications from the city? It depends on age, council district, and income level.

While a majority of citizens are not satisfied with the city’s communication efforts, it’s not for lack of effort by the city.

They use channel 2, a recently redesigned web site, email, a magazine, YouTube, twitter and more.

But only 43 percent say they are satisfied with city efforts to communicate, officials reported Tuesday to the mayor and city manager.

When it comes to availability of information, however, satisfaction this year is more than half, up from less than 40 percent in 2010.

The city does not use all its delivery vehicles for every message or story. For all citizens except those 65 or older, the web is their favored source of information.

Chris Hernandez, deputy director of communication, said they try to target their message to the best way to reach certain populations or demographics.

The media does not cover much of what the city is doing so it tries to tell about its own stories, he said. The KCMOre magazine, in print or online, also has feature stories on city employees and more.

Channel 2 went high definition last year and has added many new programs, but its viewer numbers have gone down some, Hernandez said.

The recently redesigned web site has drawn mixed reviews, he said, but people agree it looks cleaner and more modern.

It is now based on search function and the city is the largest nationwide using the WordPress blogging platform.

They already had to do a fix on its most searched for item, information on trash collection. At first, it could only be found under a search for solid waste.

“We have added the word trash so people could get there,” Hernandez said.

Mayor Sly James said city jargon can be like a foreign language. “I would find it difficult to search in Ukrainian.”

Other items drawing the most searches include police reports, tax information, barking dogs, business licenses and streetcar routes.

James said efforts to reach people will continue and expand.

“If we’re not communicating well,” he said, “there’s no way we can be functioning well.”

One Comment

  1. Very interesting info/data on age, $$ & usage. It appears that we all communicate (some overly, which can be distracting and may diminish impact of said data) in various ways

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