Public mission as strategy for future Australian local government communication

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Most Australian local governments (LGOVs) employ at least one professional communicator, but there are few sector-wide professional principles to guide LGOV communication practice. This paper examines challenges for councils and ways that LGOV communication may be conceptualised in the future. Councils and their communicators find themselves between pressures to change for an uncertain future and pressures to protect a status quo that no longer exists. Communities and their communication technologies are trending towards more open communication: expecting more participatory interaction and organisational responsiveness. Digitised mediatisation is compelling LGOVs to expand a longstanding reliance on traditional media and broadcasting information to include more listening and interaction. The analysis here strongly supports the alignment of communication strategy with the public mission of local government. It recommends umbrella principles for LGOV communicators that include commitment to plurality in decision process contributions, outreach to interested and affected stakeholders and transparency in processes with accountability to stakeholders for awareness, timing and outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journalism Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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