Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bring Back The Federal Communicator

Agile, partner, innovate, force multiplier (that's old).

What's your jargon?

I have had the privilege to know Federal communicators with decades of service. The old-fashioned kind. The kind that can only use Microsoft Word. That do not know anything about social media, and don't want to.

The communicators I am talking about have no desire to shield the truth from the public, but rather to explain their complex programs in a way that anyone can understand and appreciate. This is not because they are "spin masters," but because they love writing and they love what their agency actually does to help people.

A great Federal communicator writing an article (not a "quick blog" or a "blurb" but an actual feature piece) for an agency news magazine (not its "propaganda organ") will travel to the field with a camera. They will go out where the action is and take photos. They will interview easily a dozen experts inside the agency, typically not outside the agency, to generate a single piece that represents the agency's point of view.

When the Federal communicator returns home, they have much more material than they can use. They transcribe the interviews. They cull the photos down. Then they do a draft. It will be the first of many.

The Federal communicator takes the draft and routes it through an approval chain to make sure that the information is not just true, but also presented in context, that it says what the agency wants to say, and that the data is appropriately cited and sourced.

They take great pride in their work. They are passionate. They don't have time for egos and agendas. They argue with the obstructionists who try to prevent the best quotes from seeing the light of day.

The Federal communicators I know are not just "as good as" the private sector, they are easily better.

I miss the days when there was a cadre of trusted, knowledgeable, no-BS, authoritative Federal communicators at the right hand of every senior executive in the government.
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain. Free photo via Pixabay.