Cleveland City Hall Is Searching for a Media Refresh and Overhaul

A full revamp of TV20 and the city's social media could come this year

click to enlarge Cleveland City Hall. - Erik Drost/FlickrCC
Erik Drost/FlickrCC
Cleveland City Hall.

Mayor Bibb has City Hall's in-house media in his sights for the latest round of modernization efforts.

On Friday, the city's Department of Communications held an information session on a request for proposal on how to best revamp the department — to make it more appealing and useable for the public.

Chief Communications Officer Sarah Johnson, who spearheads the department, hinted an an expansion of the city's ongoing, and outdated, internal media strategies, from TV20, Cleveland's C-SPAN, to its press releases and in-house Photo Bureau.

The city is looking for a consultant and revamp that would "deliver engaging multimedia content, identify media talent throughout existing departments," Johnson wrote in a press release, "and deliver a plan for consolidating media talent into a cohesive, contemporary media communication office for the city."

The update, especially for TV20, which averages less than 30 views per video on YouTube, could lead to increased transparency with City Hall, a Mayor Bibb talking point on his campaign trail.

A 2016 study at Rutgers University, which analyzed the communications of 18 local governments throughout the U.S., found that the 63 percent of departments that saw social media and other communication as an "engagement tool"—versus the 37 percent who saw it as simple message-delivery—received more messages from their constituents.

"Overall, then, the use of social media is likely to improve services of local government and contribute to more efficient use of public resources," the study found.

The revamp looks to include an update to the city's social media presence—and possibly, as Mayor Bibb also hinted at on the campaign trail, its dated website.

The deadline for the proposal for its media overhaul is March 14th. Johnson, through the release, said City Hall's hoping to lock down a consultant by the first week of April.

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Mark Oprea

Mark Oprea is a staff writer at Scene. For the past seven years, he's covered Cleveland as a freelance journalist, and has contributed to TIME, NPR, the Pacific Standard and the Cleveland Magazine. He's the winner of two Press Club awards.
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