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Platespinners: A collective of communication managers working in Wisconsin local governments

The Platespinners is a support group for communication managers behind these informational posts throughout the state.

If you’ve ever had a question about garbage pickup times, ballot boxes, or construction updates, perhaps you’ve turned to your local municipality’s social media pages to find out more.

There’s a person behind every post that’s crafted who also engages with comments and responds to questions. Though these communication managers aren’t very widespread, they’ve found a way to connect to explore how to disseminate critical information that inquiring Wisconsinites need. This group is called the Platespinners, a collection of local government professionals who communicate on behalf of cities and villages across Wisconsin.

Eva Ennamorato, the communications manager for the city of Wauwatosa, is a member of this group.

"The Platespinners was an idea of a colleague of ours in the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and the idea was, let's not recreate the wheel. A lot of us have to explain similar topics [such as:] 'What does my tax bill support? How do elections or construction work in my community? How does a tax rate affect the community?' So, it's really been a beneficial group for me and my colleagues across Wisconsin," Ennamorato says.

Ennamorato in Wauwatosa is one of very few full-time municipality communication professionals. Typically, the individuals who serve as the online government communicators have other additional responsibilities like HR duties, administration, or public works. For these individuals, the Platespinners are a particularly valuable resource.

Ennamorato says she appreciates the role she gets to play in helping keep people critically informed. She says, "It's my favorite role to be in. It's about customer service and information and just navigating government [language]. It's about informing stakeholders about a topic, who the decision makers are, how you can participate and how outcomes may affect the community."

Ennamorato also enjoys engaging with the community to help foster noticeable growth and improvement.

"The city of Wauwatosa was given about $24 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Planet Fund. We engaged with people online about how to spend it...and we overwhelmingly received feedback about the need for mental health. And so out of a terrible pandemic, we're seeing unprecedented levels of funding towards mental health at a local level," Ennamorato says.

These similar instances demonstrate how local government can be responsive to the needs of the community and provide deeper, meaningful connections with them. "There's lots of issues at a local level that I think people are passionate about," Ennamorato says. "And I think communications professionals help bridge that gap."


Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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