We recently polled members of the MuniNet Guide & Review Editorial Advisory Board – a group comprised of professionals who work in local government and municipal research – to see how they use the Internet to get the information they need to do their jobs. Here’s what we found:

  • Sites listed as “highest priority” were state or municipal-related government web sites and local news sources. Next in line were national news sources, maps, and financial or economic news.
  • Compared to the year before, our experts turned to the Internet more for local news sources than any other category. Runners-up were state or municipal-related web sites and national news sources. Respondents also said that they increasingly turned to municipal non-profit research sites, think tanks and research centers and professional trade organizations, trade papers or journals.
  • The majority of our respondents said that, on average, they accessed city or municipal-related government web sites more than 10 times per month.
  • The most common reasons for accessing a city or state government-related web site were to find contact information, get access to local information, get creative ideas for applying to other web sites, and to obtain financial or economic information.
Online Municipal Research Favorites We asked respondents which sites they would choose if they could access only five research or news sites for the most comprehensive Internet library for municipal-related research. Following are some of the expert’s picks:
  • Bond Buyer
  • Bloomberg
  • National League of Cities
  • Rockerfeller Institute of Government
  • Wall Street Journal
“Timeliness of information is critical, which is why three of my five choices are news sources. The other two represent excellent sources for local and state government research information.” Michael J. Ross, CFA, Senior Municipal Analyst, RBC Dain Rauscher
  • National Conference of State Legislatures
  • National League of Cities
  • Governing Magazine
  • Brookings Institute
  • Municipal Research & Services Center
“Simply put, these sites have the information I need.” Bruce Calvin, Manager of Municipal Reference Service, National League of Cities
  • New York Times
  • Municipal Research & Services Center
  • Public Technology, Inc.
  • Center for Digital Government and Government Technology
  • Stockholm Challenge
“Public Technology is my best source of sharing information among local government webmasters. The most useful information is a members only listserve. Government Technology and their related site, Center for Digital Government, provide good articles about local government projects. The Stockholm Challenge is an international awards program for the best uses of technology to meet people’s needs. I have found it to be an incredibly rich source of information about the best projects worldwide.” Rona Zevin, Director of the Office of Electronic Communications, City of Seattle, Washington
  • New York Times
  • The Bond Buyer
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Bizjournals
  • National Council of State Legislatures
These sites represent a spectrum of national coverage news and information sources that focus on local or regional political and economic issues and developments likely to impact state or local governments, public finance or regional economies. These five provide complementary perspectives to round out the treatment of national stories. For more targeted issues, local news sources generally offer the most detailed coverage.