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2018: Network and Digital Media Strategies for Community Development Efforts: A Case Study of The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission

Co-Implementation Plan - 2018

Authors: Laleah Fernandez, Michigan State University


This project will focus on a digital media strategy for The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) to improve awareness, consensus building and action, related to current topics of policy importance for economic development. In particular, this project will include a network analysis to help optimize the flow of information (e.g. remove redundancy), specify influencers/opinion leaders, and improve communication efficiency based on strength of ties and attributes among stakeholders. The project will result in a case study research paper and digital media outreach template for other regional economic development organizations.

Author Information

Laleah Fernandez Laleah Fernandez, Michigan State University

Laleah Fernandez is a post-doctoral research fellow at MSU's Quello Center in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. in Media and Information Studies, her M.A. in Advertising and her B.A in Journalism, all from MSU. Her research interests include network analysis and the role of new and emerging media in community-level and global mobilization efforts. Laleah has published research and reviews in the areas of advertising, economic development, mobilization, and science communication. Her current research projects include a multi national comparison of vulnerabilities to fake news, and a project examining digital divides in Detroit. Laleah comes to us from her position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information and Computing Science at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.

John Egelhaaf John Egelhaaf, AICP

John Egelhaaf has served as the Executive Director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission (SWMPC) since 2003. In addition to cultivating the administrative side of SWMPC management, he oversees regional planning projects across a broad scope including natural resource management, public transportation, health issues in regional planning, metropolitan transportation planning, trail planning, economic development, and heritage route development. John has served on various boards at the state level, including secretariat treasurer of the Michigan Association of Regions from 2006 to 2007, a position on the Michigan Transportation Research Board (MTRB) Executive Committee, the state's Transportation Asset Management Council, and the governor's Infrastructure Asset Management Pilot Advisory Board. Nationally John has been appointed to the Technical Expert Panel of the Administration for Community Living. John is actively involved in local and regional organizations throughout southwest Michigan. He has spoken at numerous state and national events. John is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, the American Planning Association, and the Michigan Association of Planning. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and English from Purdue University and a Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts.

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