A New Year’s Look at Government Communications

A message from NAGC
President-Elect John Verrico

As we begin 2013, I wanted to
take this opportunity to wish all members of the National Association of
Government Communicators – and those government communicators who are still
pondering about joining us – a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Government communicators faced
some significant challenges in 2012, dealing with everything from economic
crises and the fiscal cliff to multiple natural disasters including
wildfires, hurricanes, floods, devastating tornados, one of the 10 worst droughts of
all time, and
Superstorm Sandy. Government communicators were called upon to deal with public
scrutiny on the questionable activities and statements by
agency leaders
elected officials; as well as handling controversy surrounding socio-political issues
such as
same-sex marriage, unemployment
immigration laws. None of us will ever forget the horrible shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, a movie theater in Colorado, a neighborhood watch in Florida, and others.

In addition, it was an election
year, which brings a myriad of issues and challenges for communicators.

Our counterparts in other
parts of the world had their hands full as well with market crashes in
Europe and
outbreaks in the Middle East;
famine in Africa; earthquakes;
typhoons; avalanches; political
corruption scandals in
turmoil in Egypt, Libya, and other nations; and ongoing wars around the globe.

Through it all, the work of
government communicators was evident everywhere. Government spokespersons
getting the word out to the media – the good news as well as the bad.
Government speechwriters penning the history making words spoken by agency
leaders. Government webmasters posting important information for the public and
setting up special websites for emergencies. Government photographers and
videographers capturing historic moments. Government writers, editors and
graphic artists working together on the critical messaging and images that will
stay with us in years to come. Meanwhile, in
Southeastern Europe,
government communicators were working together in a multinational forum to try
change the image of their governments by becoming more open and transparent. As
a matter of fact, there are now 56 nations around the globe that have joined
the United Nations
Open Government Partnership.

Pretty exciting stuff!

As your new President-elect,
my goals for this new year are simple. I will be working with NAGC
President Glen Thomas and the rest of your Board of Directors to continue to
grow the benefits of being a member of NAGC.

We have some exciting stuff
coming down the pike, and Glen has already mentioned some of them in his
highlights of the Board of Directors retreat. You should look for new
professional development resources; an Ask-an-Expert forum; increased
interaction with other communications professionals, including our
international counterparts; regional networking opportunities; programs for
communications students; and a new series of webinars that will be FREE
for NAGC members.

The first of these webinars is
coming up on January 31 featuring Navy Rear Adm. Vic Beck who will share the
challenges he faced and the lessons he learned in trying to conduct community
relations activities and engage the public in war-torn Iraq
and Afghanistan.
Can’t wait to hear about what he experienced leading the efforts in both

As already noted, this
webinar will be free for NAGC members (non-members will have to pay a fee, so
for those of you that are still undecided about NAGC membership, now’s the time
to come aboard!)

By the way, have you seen the
agenda yet for this year’s
NAGC Communications School? It will be posted soon. This is going to be a very
exciting program with everything from media training to Rosie the Riveter, and
a group of
science fiction authors who
will share their views on how we can overcome the “Big Brother” stigma of
government. We’ll also have a session reporting on NAGC’s survey of government
spokespersons about their relationship with the media! Check it out! You won’t
want to miss this year’s Communications

And remember, NAGC members
get a significant discount to attend! (are you sensing a theme here?)

So, fellow government communicators, I wish you good luck as
you go forth into the New Year and do more great things. Hopefully, things will
be a little tamer this year. But looking at the flu season and budget issues
right off the bat, 2013 is already promising to be a doozy!

Note: News links and events
were chosen strictly at random and do not reflect any endorsement of opinion or
preference for any source of information.

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