No CityCaucus.com for Vancouver city staff, says Best

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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censorship
Communications Director orders that CityCaucus.com posts no longer be tracked and forwarded to City staff

A package of about 400 pages worth of emails from Laurie Best, Vancouver's Director of Communications arrived at our research department on the 20th floor of CityCaucus.com tower late last week. While our crack research team is still pouring over the emails with a fine tooth comb, we've discovered one that caught our attention.

You may not be aware the City of Vancouver communications department tracks and monitors all the media in the city to see what people are saying about City Hall and its various politicos. The service is available to numerous staff and it has become an easy one-stop shop to find out what is being said about City Hall by the mainstream media.

With the onset of blogs like CityCaucus.com and State of Vancouver, you would think that the communications department might want to track what's being said in the blogosphere. Well, according to an email dated December 11th, 2008 that we obtained through Freedom of Information, the City's Director of Communications ordered her staff to stop tracking and forwarding CityCaucus.com posts to City staff.

Here is an excerpt from Best's email:

From: Laurie Best

To: Donovan, Thomas; Young, Jennifer

Subject: Re: Breaking News: City Caucus blogging numbers

Hi Tiffany and Jennifer, as we build this service please limit the blogs monitored and forwarded to those from accredited journalists (example Frances Bula, Charlie Smith).

There you have it...according to Ms. Best, only blogs connected with mainstream media (MSM) outlets are worthy of being tracked by communications staff. All others need not apply. 300px-Censorship_for_Dummies.png

You'd think both our marketing and circulation departments would be outraged by the City's decision, however, quite the contrary.

That's because by censoring blogs like CityCaucus.com from staff view, it's had the unintended effect of driving up our overall site visits.

As you recall, we just announced we had over 150,000 page views in about four months since our launch. Best's decision has also helped to increase the growth of our daily subscription and Twitter feeds by an average of 25% per month.

On behalf of the whole CityCaucus.com team, here's a big shout out to Laurie for helping to make CityCaucus.com such a big hit at Vancouver City Hall...and beyond.

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