Public affairs and communication officers today

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Dannielle Blumenthal 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #105968

    Ari Herzog

    A blog post from the American Society for Public Administration suggests such officers are vacant in agencies, if they ever existed.

    The media environment is fragmented and since it is now more challenging than ever to find the information we need about government all in one
    place, I have posted questions to ASPA readers about the roles of their
    public affairs and communication officers. One response suggested that
    agencies may no longer staff these positions – if they ever staffed them
    – and the scholarly literature is silent on their effectiveness.

    Which begs the question about your own agency/organization. What is the title of the person responsible for public/community/media/government affairs? If a “X affairs officer” doesn’t exist in the company directory, who does the work? Or — when you refer to new media communication, is it the role of everyone?

    Thoughts on this and where it takes you?

  • #105980

    Good morning. I am a public affairs specialist at a federal agency and most of us share this title (except for communication specialists). There are a couple of us, including me, who work in the new media space but it’s an evolving function. I am watching developments carefully (there is a hearing today on the Hill on social media in federal agencies at 2 p.m.; GSA is experiencing some controversy over its social media policy; NASA just released a game app) and believe that it won’t be long before social media becomes a formal part of every government public affairs arsenal.

    In terms of the communications function itself, there is a central function at the agency but individual offices also designate people/groups as specialists in this area.

    My experience suggests that public affairs and communication will only grow in importance not decline, but the suggestion that it’s going to be part of everyone’s job also seems accurate to me.

  • #105978

    Dianne Wigand

    Can one follow the hearing today at 2? Or will someone summarize it for the media?

    As a communication specialist how do social media change the relationships between your agency and the targeted audience? How do they change your roles?



  • #105976

    Well a couple of things stand out for me

    First the relationship is more of a dialogue where you seek to influence the conversation not control it, by providing the facts

    Second there is an expectation of fast response to everything – no lead time – which I think is what tripped up the USDA this week.

  • #105974

    Ari Herzog

    In your mind, what’s the difference between public affairs, government affairs, community relations, and their ilk?

  • #105972

    Josh Folk

    You should check out (National Association of Government Communicators). It also has a govloop page. The association is full of government public affairs and communications professionals.

  • #105970

    David Jackson

    I believe the difference is simply your target audience. I believe that your messaging and relationships should be narrowly tailored to fit the demographic. The message for government officials should have the same truth for the general audience, but packaged in a way that will help politicians meet their goals.

    Community relations should point out what is being done on a broader scale and how it will affect the general public.

    All of these intertwine, but there should be subtle differences in the mode of presentation.

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