Janine Zuniga was hired by the city last year to help shape Coronado's public message to residents and to ramp up the city's social media presence. “I hit the ground running in terms of social media. That has been a goal, to reach out to the community in my position, keeping lines of communication open, in new ways and traditional ways,” she said. Zuniga agreed to take questions from Patch about her responsibilities and the methods Coronado uses to touch base with citizens.
Q: Explain the duties you provide for the city of Coronado.
A: As a Senior Management Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, my job includes communications, public outreach, social media, special projects, grant writing, handling requests for information, among other things. In addition to my communications and social media duties for the city, I also am using the skills I learned as a former reporter to improve the city’s response to the public in general and serve in an ombudsman-type role in resolving citizens’ concerns. As a reporter with more than 15 years’ experience, I know how important it is to a community that a city is open and transparent.
Q: What's your assessment of how informed Coronado residents are about civic affairs?
A: After covering Coronado for eight years for the newspaper, I can confidently say that this city has some of the most involved citizens in San Diego County. Many are up-to-speed and plugged in on what’s going on not only here, but in the region and beyond. And they aren’t afraid to speak up and be heard. It’s important that the city listens and engages with its citizens.
Q: How can residents access information about the city's business – meetings, hearings, contracts, etc?
A: There are many ways residents can get information about city business: Through the city’s website, so much information is on there, and we’re looking at ways to get even more information out.
Residents also can like the City of Coronado’s Facebook page; follow us on Twitter, @CoronadoCity. The city manager produces his Weekly Update every Friday with lots of news. We publish that online. We also have the city’s newsletter. The latest edition should hit mailboxes by the end of the month. Those are the best ways. People can always call me or come by City Hall if they have any other questions.
Q: If a constituent has a question, who is the best contact?
A: Me. I can be reached at (619) 522-7340 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What has been the most popular of the recent social media tools the city has utilized?
A: I would have to say by far, it’s Twitter. @CoronadoCity is just about to reach 500 followers and I’ve sent 900 tweets so far. I tweet information about upcoming City Council meetings. I have “live-tweeted” from council meetings. I also tweet traffic incidents, breaking news, city street work, planned bridge work and articles on Coronado. We are trying to ramp up our Facebook activity and use it as a place to share information about city news and business and to hear from residents and others.
Q: Anything coming up in the future as far as new tools and initiatives to build bridges between residents and the city?
A: As a matter of fact, we will soon be launching a new social media tool that we hope will keep residents up-to-date with what’s going on at City Hall and around town.
Next month, the city will roll out a blog page on our website, where each city department, from police services to community development to library services, will submit topical and interesting blog items about their departments, what they offer, how things work, that sort of thing. We hope to have a new blog item twice monthly. We will link to the items on Facebook and Twitter. It will be one more way we can improve communication. Also, we are researching other social media tools, such as photo-sharing on Flickr and videos on Youtube.