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Local Government Facts

A Review of Governing Magazine

Governing is one of the few publications to which we subscribe. It provides a broad look at many important trends nationally in state and local government. Owned by the Congressional Quarterly Corporation, this monthly publication first appeared in 1987. Its focus is state and local government; if it mentions national government, it is generally in connection with state or local government.

The magazine is a valuable resource for several reasons. First, its coverage of local government is rare among national public-policy periodicals. Second, Governing’s decision-makers are not reluctant to cover controversial subjects. When the controversy erupted about the Kelo case, the magazine covered the topic thoroughly. Third, the breadth of the topics is impressive. You will find articles about subjects that, although important, somehow seem to be overlooked or poorly covered elsewhere. Public corruption, for example, is a topic that modern media seem reluctant to publicize. When it covers this topic, Governing does so in detail, including the intriguing, colorful twists and turns in which skilled public corruptors excel.

Governing also does a good job of portraying facts and figures about a variety of public services in a clear, readable fashion. One of its annual inserts is a useful collection of data about staffing, budgets, revenues, and expenditures in many different state and local arenas. If you are wondering, for example, about how your state compares to others in terms of the number of public employees, this annual insert provides the answers.

One of Governing’s other benefits is that its Web site provides quick access to many of its articles through its Advanced Search Function. For a test run, we decided to see how many articles we could retrieve about topics associated with the administration of criminal justice. We searched on selected common words and phrases in this field, and this is what we found:

Topic Number of "Hits"
Clearance rates
6
 
Conviction rates
42
 
Courts
531
 
Crime prevention
72
 
Crime rates
179
 
Law enforcement
568
 
Parole
86
 
Probation
110
 
Recidivism
35
 
Rehabilitation
139
 
Sentencing
106
 
Three strikes
58
 
Victim's rights
13
 
Work furlough
5
 

 

The search terms you use have something to do with the frequency of topics. For example, here are the hits for somewhat different terms about the same concept:

Topic Number of "Hits"
District attorney
300
 
District attorneys
112
 
Prosecutors
114
 
Prosecution
61
 

 

Turning to a quite different local-government service, here is what we found by using several related words and phrases:

Topic Number of "Hits"
Animal control
73
 
Animal refuges
3
 
Animal regulation
26
 
Animal shelter
13
 
Animal shelters
9
 
City pound
61
 
City pounds
107
 
County pound
38
 
County pounds
75
 

 

The Governing database should be the first port of call for citizen journalists, mainline reporters, students of public administration, and anyone else who wishes to obtain high-quality, no-cost background information about specific local and state government services and their trends. To see Governing’s wealth of archived information, visit www.governing.com and use the “Search Governing and Governing.com” function.


May 1, 2008

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