Stimulating Citizens to Community Action in Urban Areas: Media, Interpersonal Networks and Organizations

Leo W. Jeffres, Cleveand State University
Guowei Jian, Cleveland State University
Kimberly A. Neuendorf, Cleveland State University
Cheryl C. Bracken, Cleveland State University


The relationship between citizens and local government in urban areas has had a colorful history. Here we ask how communication channels—interpersonal and mass—and organizational involvement affect citizen attempts to influence their local government through grassroots activities such as personal contacts, letter writing, attending meetings. Data from a survey of a metropolitan area in the Midwest are analyzed to examine the influence of these measures of social capital. Analyses support the importance of organizational involvement, neighborhood communication networks, and attention to public affairs content in the media as stimulants for grassroots attempts to influence local governance in urban areas.