Communications comes at a cost

Communications has been a target area for the Town of Golden for quite some time

Communications has been a target area for the Town of Golden for quite some time, and the municipality’s communications intern has laid out some recommendations to improve their internal and external communications.

Faith Dusevic has been interning at the Town since Jan. 2 (part of a 16-week internship to complete her degree in communications from Mount Royal University).

In her time there she has worked on several projects including the Budget Consultation, youth (ages 18-35) engagement sessions, monthly Community Conversations, as well as some information gathering through internal and external surveys.

The information she has been able to gather has shown where the Town should be focusing their time and resources. The first question the survey asked was how people prefer to find out about municipal happenings.

“People want to find their information in a variety of different ways,” said Dusevic. “The Town of Golden needs to address all of the methods of communication that residents want.”

Methods included the newspaper, social media, public events like open houses, and most importantly face to face communication. Regardless of the demographic, Dusevic found that people were more satisfied with the information they received if they heard it from a conversation.

A more troubling statistic however, was the amount of people who get their information through word of mouth.

“58.7 per cent of people get information from conversations with others. Those are not conversations with us. Those are rumours and gossip – misinformed people, which can often create an angry public,” she said. “We need to be part of those conversations.”

Some of the recommendations that came out of Dusevic’s presentation to council included a stronger social media presence (not only posting, but monitoring the public response), better utilization of the newspaper, a newsletter, more face to face conversations, a Town booth at local events, and making sure questions are answered before they’re asked.

“There should be constant conversations with the public, they should never be stopping,” she said. “If we’re reactive, then it’s probably too late.”

Everything comes at a cost, however, and none of these recommendations will likely be completed without a dedicated communications staff member.

“This would all be realistic if there was a position in place. I don’t how it would be achieved otherwise,” said Dusevic.

“Everyone is so busy, there just isn’t the staff right now to keep th