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Having the Professionalism of NAGC and Its Members Gives Me Credibility

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 14, 2020
Name: Tom Fuller, APR 
NAGC Affiliation: NAGC Professional Development Director
Member Since: 2014
Biography: Tom Fuller, APR manages communications for the Oregon Department of Transportation. 

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn!

The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC)  is more than an organization to me. It’s a connection to other professionals who have gone before me and have wisdom they can share so I don’t have to always reinvent the wheel. 

Little did I know that joining NAGC would have such benefits to my career and position as a government professional. And more than that - the members of this fine organization are such caring people. I really feel like I’m at home when I’m with them (even virtually).

Being a part of NAGC also helps me when I go to my boss and want to do my best communications work. Having the professionalism of NAGC and its members gives me credibility - and they are so supportive of the Accreditation in Public Relations process. Bravo!

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NAGC is Committed to Remaining Relevant in the Rapidly Changing Communication Landscape while Supporting its Members

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Name: Tabitha Clark, APR 
NAGC Affiliation: NAGC Membership Director 
Member Since: 2020 

Biography:
Tabitha Clark, APR is the Communication Manager for the City of Perry located in central Georgia. She is accredited in public relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board where she was trained and evaluated in the strategic planning process and best practices in the public relations field. Her communication experience includes law enforcement, K-12 public education, and local government.  After spending over a decade working in communications, Tabitha knows how to engage target audiences through creative storytelling and communicating messages in a fun and unique way.

Connect with Tabitha on LinkedIn!

The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC)  is committing to supporting the essential role of the government communicator. I joined this prestigious association in search of quality professional development and to support communication colleagues throughout the nation.

The NAGC Board is committed to remaining relevant in the rapidly changing communication landscape while supporting its members. 

The seminars and frequent professional development opportunities provide relevant information you can put into practice the same day. This benefit is one of the many reasons the NAGC is vital to the modern day government communicator.

NAGC is also a proud supporter of the Universal Accreditation Board Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) program. This certification demonstrates mastery in the public relations field where candidates are trained and evaluated in strategic communications, ethics, and progressive public relations theories. Are you interested in obtaining your APR? Please reach out! We’re here to help you advance your career to the next level!

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NAGC Supports the Public’s Special Trust in Government Communicators

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Name: Scott Thomsen
NAGC Affiliation: NAGC President
Member Since: 2008 

Biography: Scott Thomsen currently serves as the Director of Communications for Seattle City Light and began his career in government communications in 2007 after his first career in journalism. 

Connect with Scott on LinkedIn!

Being a government communicator involves a special trust by the public. They trust that you will work for them, look out for their interests and communicate with them honestly.

When I became a government communicator in 2007 after my first career in journalism, I recognized the responsibility that came with the job and honoring that special trust.

As I looked around for professional associations that would support me in my new role, I found a lot of groups with talented, experienced professionals that addressed communications and public relations strategies and tactics. However, most did not address the higher level of accountability and ethics demanded of communicators working in the public sector.

Then I discovered the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) through the Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards.

I was immediately impressed by the showcase of excellent work by government communications pros at all levels across the country. I got great feedback on my entry and was inspired with lots of ideas from the winners.

As I dug deeper, I quickly saw NAGC’s commitment to ethics and transparency in communications as a means of supporting good government for the people it serves. Training and professional development opportunities in webinars and Communications School were tailored to the work I was doing.

This was the organization for me.

At first, I was content to enjoy those benefits of my membership until I realized that NAGC had opportunities for me to demonstrate my skills as I continued to grow. I volunteered to help with a website rebuild. Next, I was recruited to run for the board of directors. After two terms as Communications Director, I was elected president-elect and now have the pleasure of serving you as your NAGC president.

Throughout it all, I have seen great dedication to advocating for good government communications, recognizing that work and helping members develop professionally so they can do more of that excellent work. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the members who have volunteered on NAGC task forces and the volunteer board of directors that continues to grow the association.  

There are many people who are quick to blame the messenger. NAGC is an organization that stands up for you, the government messengers who are working every day to support their communities.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown how important your work is. You are educating people about how they can stay safe and protect others so they can make good decisions. You are providing facts in an era of opinion and calm amid digital chaos.

That’s why NAGC matters to me. If through my service here, I can help you do your jobs even a little bit better, then I have contributed to better government and delivered on that special trust from the public.

I hope you see the value of an NAGC membership and will join me – or continue to join me – in the association’s mission to advance our profession.


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The Benefits of Engaging the Hispanic Media, Community as a PIO​

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Benefits of Engaging the Hispanic Media, Community as a PIO
Bethzaida Garcia

February 5, 2020

This is the latest in a series of posts from graduates of FEMA’s Master Public Information Officer course, sharing their research into key communications topics in partnership with NAGC.

 

America is a country built on diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Hispanics now make up the largest ethnic or racial minority, according to the United States Census Bureau with a population as of 2017 of 58.9 million. As government communicators and public information officers, we need to adapt to those changes and embrace them.  

 

With the increase of natural and human made tragedies that we are facing, such as hurricanes and mass casualty shootings, it is important for PIOs to use all the media outlets and methods of communication available to get important information to all segments of our communitiesAfter reviewing research papers about Spanish language journalism and how to reach out to Hispanic communitiesit is clear that we have many opportunities to improve our work. 

Engaging the Hispanic community through social media and Hispanic media outlets can create strong allies in disseminating safety messaging during emergencies. Understanding Hispanic culture, including communication models, authority, religiosity and interests, and then taking it into consideration as part of our outreach will improve our ability to connect. 

Past research shows that although Hispanics consume every media type, they seem to have a special attraction to radio and television. More recent indicators show that those patterns are changing, and that social media is getting most of this community’s attention.  staggering 67% of Hispanics indicate a preference for social media among other outlets

Even so, social media should not be our only channel for reaching this community.  We should also include in our tools to disseminate our message local newspapers, TV and radio. According to Covarrubias (2016), the great majority of Spanish-language media outlets in the U.S. are distributed for free and are funded by advertising. These publications tend to highlight positive news from the Hispanic community and avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes, focusing on relevant stories. Those publications’ resulting relevance and reputations in the Hispanic community is a plus for us when we need to share important information and we should use every advantage we have available. 

 

The research proved that public information officers are adapting to the changes in demographics showed by the United States Census Bureauand considering or adopting new policies to cover all their citizens in case of an emergency. I was happy to see that around the United States,whether in a small town with about 100 Hispanics or a large city with 500,000, PIOsare proactive and engaging with local Spanish speaking media.

Times are changing and we are changing too. By adapting to the needs of our diverse communities we provide better service to everyone. PIOs are driving inclusion because we know that lives are at risk and we don’t want to lose even one life because of a lack of information. We are committed to our communities and to our duty to disseminate the right message, to the right people, at the right time. 

 

Important Steps to follow
1. Make an effort to understand Hispanic culture and the particular needs of the Hispanic community, including values, authority models and religiosity.

2. Recognize the preferred communication models among Hispanics, which is a key consideration for getting our message across. 
3. Adapt communication approaches to meet those needs.

 

Bethzaida Garcia is a public relations coordinator for the Osceola County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office. She has a master’s degree in counseling from Ana G. Mendez University and a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology and education from Turabo University.

 

Los beneficios de incluir a los medios hispanos y a la comunidad hispana en PIO

Bethzaida García

 

Debido al aumento de hispanos en todo el país y según la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos en el 2017, la población hispana en los Estados Unidos es 58.9 millioneshaciendo de este grupo la minoría étnica o racial más grande que hace que nuestro campo necesite adaptarse y aceptar esos cambios.  Con el aumento de tragedias naturales y humanas a las que nos enfrentamos es importante utilizar todos los medios de comunicación y métodos de comunicación disponibles para obtener esta información en todas nuestras comunidades, incluyendo los hispanos. 

 

Después de revisar los trabajos de investigación en español sobre periodismos y cómo llegar a las comunidades hispanas y los resultados de la encuesta es claramente entender que el incluir a la comunidad hispana a través de las redes sociales y los medios de comunicación hispanos pueden convertirse en nuestro aliado número uno para difundir nuestro mensaje a través de esta comunidad durante las emergencias. Tomar en consideración y conocer las necesidades y la cultura de los hispanos siempre nos ayudará a llegar a ellos. Comprender los modelos de comunicación entre los hispanos, sus valores culturales, la autoridad, sus creencias e intereses será una clave para transmitir nuestro mensaje.   

 

Investigaciones anteriores muestran que, aunque los hispanos consumen todos los tipos de medios, parecen tener una atracción especial por la radio y la televisión, pero la encuesta realizada nos muestra que los tiempos están cambiando y que las redes sociales están recibiendo la mayor parte de la atención de esta comunidad. Con un asombroso 67% de personas que prefieren las redes sociales entre otros medios de comunicación, estableciendo claramente nuestro camino para llegar directamente a esta comunidad. 

 

Esto nos dio una visión sorprendente, pero no sólo debemos centrarnos en los medios de comunicación social también debemos incluir en nuestras herramientas para difundir nuestro mensaje; periódicos locales, televisión y radio.  Según Covarrubias (2016), la gran mayoría de los medios de comunicación en español en los EE.UU. se distribuyen de forma gratuita y están financiados por la publicidad y destacando noticias positivas de la comunidad hispana y evitan perpetuar estereotipos negativos, centrándose en historias relevantes. Esto es una ventaja para nosotros y debemos usar todo lo que tenemos disponible. La investigación demostró que los PIO se están adaptando a los cambios demográficos mostrados por la Oficina del Censo de los Estados Unidos y considerando adaptar nuevas políticas para cubrir a todos sus ciudadanos en caso de emergencia.  

 

Me alegró ver que alrededor de eventos en los Estados Unidos así sea en un pueblo pequeño con 100 hispanos o 500,000 todos eran proactivos y se relacionaban con los medios locales de habla hispana. También el hecho de que los hispanos prefirieran las redes sociales entre todos los demás medios de comunicación era esclarecedor. Este hecho nos da un paso adelante a la hora de comunicarnos con la comunidad hispana.  

 

Los tiempos están cambiando y nosotros también. Estamos acomodándonos y modificando a las necesidades de nuestra diversa comunidad. Los PIO se están adaptando y se están volviendo inclusivos porque sabemos que las vidas están en riesgo y no queremos perder ni siquiera una vida por falta de información, estamos comprometidos con nuestras comunidades y con nuestra línea y deber de PIO para difundir el mensaje correcto, a las personas correctas, en el momento correcto.  

 

Pasos importantes a seguir

1. El tomar en consideración y conocer las necesidades y la cultura de los hispanos siempre nos ayudará a llegar a ellos. 

2. Comprender los modelos de comunicación entre los hispanos, sus valores culturales, la autoridad, la religión y el interés será una clave para transmitir nuestro mensaje.   

3. Acomodar y modificar las necesidades de su comunidad

 

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Communications School Cancelled

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 28, 2020

 

 

Repost from Home Page:

Dear Colleagues,

The Board of Directors met by videoconference March 17, 2020, to discuss the viability of continuing to move forward with our 2020 Communications School, slated for May 19 - 21, in the Galt House Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky. Our primary concern throughout the discussion was your health and safety, and the health and safety of those you would return home to.

After reviewing CDC guidance for event planners, considering the order issued by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear March 18, 2020, requiring businesses that cannot comply with CDC social distancing guidelines to cease in-person operations, increasing restrictions on travel for government employees, and out of an abundance of caution in uncertain times, we decided to cancel the 2020 Communications School.

Management HQ - our association management team - will contact those who have already registered for the 2020 Communications School to make refund arrangements.


We are pressing ahead with the judging of Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award submissions and the board is working with Management HQ to create a virtual event to properly recognize award winners. The board is also working with the 2020 Communications School Task Force to identify breakout sessions and/or keynote presentations that would adapt well to a virtual environment and offer those as a series of webinars and/or webcast events. We also intend to move forward with our elections, to ensure our incoming President, Scott Thomsen, is robustly supported by a full board of directors. We will provide more details to you as they become available.

The Galt House management team understood our situation and accepted our cancellation without financial penalty to the NAGC. We are negotiating a contract to hold the 2022 Communications School there.

The board of directors, with the assistance of Management HQ, had already selected Portland, Oregon, as the site of the 2021 Communications School, prior to our decision to cancel the 2020 school. Deliberate planning for the 2021 Communications School in Portland, Oregon, will begin soon after the Board's annual meeting in May and the installation of new members of the board.

All of us on the board know how much we all look forward to the one-of-a-kind learning opportunity our annual communications school is, the benefits of networking and the time spent with fellow government communications practitioners, but we also know your health and well-being is more important. We can and will hold other events to keep us all engaged, our skills sharp and our counsel sage.

Know that whether you are teleworking from home, or on the frontlines of the response to the pandemic, we're here to support you, the government communicators, who are essential to ensuring life-saving information is communicated to the public we serve. We are a community of practice, and we have a wealth of talent to draw upon. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the board or your fellow association members if you are in need of a tip, tactic or guidance. Our membership directory, resources, past webinars and other information is available to you in the members area of the NAGC website.

Until next we can meet, be well and stay safe.

Christopher T. O’Neil, APR
President
National Association of Government Communicators


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Minneapolis City Council Votes to Eliminate Public Information Officer Role

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 27, 2020
On Friday, July 24, the Minneapolis City Council voted 9-3 to eliminate the Public Information Officer role from the city’s police department and shift their responsibilities to the city’s communications staff.

The death of George Floyd after he was apprehended by Minneapolis police captured international attention and has spurred important conversations about racism, equality and justice. Those discussions should continue so America can live up to its promise that all of us are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
Equal protection and treatment under the law for all people is essential for a just society. Police departments are the first point of contact for enforcing the law and promoting public safety.
Eliminating the Minneapolis Police Department’s PIOs does not further the conversation about appropriate police tactics, equal treatment or justice. What it will do is slow the release of information about crimes and police activities, especially those that take place after business hours and on weekends. 

The communications staff of a mayor’s office or city council is already busy carrying out the work of representing those elected officials. The National Association of Government Communicators respects their work and represents their interests. We also recognize that they are simply not staffed sufficiently to effectively take on all the work that police PIOs do every day on top of their already busy schedules. 

Government communicators who work for elected officials, including mayors and city councils, are trained professionals, and as a society, we should hold them to the same expectations for conduct as their colleagues in civil service departments and agencies. The National Association of Government Communicators spells out those expectations in our code of ethics, which is built on the values of honesty and transparency.

It is also important to recognize that communicators who work for elected officials are typically at-will employees who have a vested interest in the success of the people they work for. Police public information officers typically are civil service employees whose jobs are protected from changes in the political fortunes of elected officials. That civil service protection also should reduce the impact – or even the appearance of any impact – by politics on the distribution of honest and accurate information.

In the George Floyd case, the police department’s PIO, John Elder, has acknowledged issuing an initial news release that mischaracterized Floyd as appearing to “suffer medical distress” rather than telling officers that he could not breathe while one of the officers pressed his knee against the back of Floyd’s neck.

Elder told media outlets that he based the news release on a description he received during briefings, rather than going to the scene or reviewing body camera footage.

Public information officers should be able to rely on information provided to them by others in their organizations. If that information is found to be inaccurate, they have a responsibility to correct the record immediately. Mischaracterizing events harms public trust in our government institutions and that is clearly the case here.

As an organization, NAGC stands with the Minneapolis police PIOs and the city’s communications team. Both fulfill important, yet different, roles. Both should continue to serve their community ethically, honestly and professionally. In this way, the public can be well-informed and make the best decisions about how to move forward toward a better future that recognizes there is one race – the human race – in which Black lives matter just as much as all others. 

Scott Thomsen
NAGC President 

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