What City has the Best Image?
Pascual Berrone, Joan Enric Ricart, Carlos Carrasco
IESE BUSINESS SCHOOL
IESE BUSINESS SCHOOL
The image of a city is made up of a network of interrelated elements that summarizes what we know about that place and of the feelings it evokes. Social science researchers have shown that in the formation process of the city image the media play a key role. That is, the city representation in the news media and patterns of coverage are factors determining the city image. Media can influence the general public, decision makers and the place’s inhabitant both negatively and positively. When media focuses on negative events such as crime, violence and social problems, it damages the city image. Conversely, when the media highlights positive episodes such as sport events and cultural developments, it has a salutatory effect on the city image. Thus, media portrayal can affect the knowledge structure that people have regarding a city and participate actively in the process of the formation of stereotypes. As a result, the analysis of media coverage as an approximation is a valid tool to assess the city image.
We followed a number of steps to compute the measure of city image. News and clips where a city was mentioned were identified between 2008 and 2012 by searching the name of any city. A total of 42,836 news mentioning a city name were collected under the period of analysis. News were content analyzed and then coded as positive, neutral or negative. For the positive and neutral cases, we assigned the value of 1, while for the negative cases we assigned the value of -1 as they reflected a “image-challenging” news. Later, we used the Janis-Fadner coefficient of imbalance to construct our ranking of city image. This coefficient has the advantage that it measures the relative proportion of endorsing and challenging news, allowing comparing cities with different sizes. For each year, we ranked cities based on the Janis-Fadner coefficient. Finally, to facilitate interpretation, we assign points from 1 to 20 to cities by inverting the ranking position (e.g., the city that ranked 1st received 20 points, the city ranked 2nd received 19 points, and so on).