Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hal Holbrook receives NAGC's Lifetime Achievement Award

Hal Holbrook receives NAGC's lifetime achievement award.
Marisa Ellison (left), Hal Holbrook (right)
After selecting the theme "Government Communicators: Telling America's Stories" for the 2012 Communications school, the 2011 NAGC Board of Directors wanted to include people who could tell stories as part of the after-hour programs. Peter Tork (the Monkees), Mike Foreman (an astronaut), and America's "Greatest" Storyteller, Mark Twain were selected. A  Lifetime Achievement Award for Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain and as the Greatest American Storyteller was created. Although Holbrook was not present at the 2012 Communications School, Marisa Ellison, Competitions Director for the NAGC, presented the award to him.

Hal Holbrook's performance, "Mark Twain as Himself" was done in Twain's boyhood home of Hannibal, Missouri! The two hour display of experience and talent took the audience of about 400 back nearly a century at a time when Congress was solely inhabited by men."Twain" spoke several times about the insanity of democrats and republicans alike, and enjoyed sharing his thoughts about government in general throughout the performance.

Immediately following the performance, the Museum Curator had planned a very small reception where a select few had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Holbrook. Here Marisa presented Mr. Holbrook as Mark Twain the Lifetime Achievement Award for American Storytelling as presented by the NAGC.  Marisa reflected on her evening with Halbrook:
"First, I introduced myself and explained I was with the National Association of Government Communicators. He immediately got a gleam in his eye. Never missing an opportunity to share an opinion about government with an audience, Mr. Holbrook turned to the small crowd, smiled, and said, 'Isn't this interesting.' The crowd laughed. Mr. Holbrook was very gracious and appreciative of the award and asked that I forward a picture with detailed information about NAGC to his assistance, Joyce. We talked about the conference we had in June, and he apologized he was not able to attend as he was filming Promiseland, which is due out anytime."
What a grand experience! Congrats again to Mr. Holbrook as Mark Twain for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for American Storytelling!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Early Entry Deadline Approaches, President Elect Nominations

NAGC Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Early Entry Deadline December 7

The entries are beginning to roll in for the 2013 Blue Pencil Gold Screen awards and the early bird deadline of Friday, December 7 is approaching fast! The final entry deadline is January 11, but members entering by December 7 can save $41 for a single entry and $39 per entry on multiple submissions. Not a member of NAGC? No worries! Non-members can join NAGC when submitting their entries and pay the Blue Pencil/Gold Screen member entry fee(s).

You can download an entry form, review past winners, apply to be judge and get more info at Check out NAGC's YouTube channel to see last year's 1st place entry for documentary, a video produced by the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Combat Camera Squadron entitled "Honor Our Heroes: America's Wounded Warriors." You can also review the documentary category's second place winner, Port of Seattle's "Voices of the Port."

BPGS Pricing:
Entries postmarked on or before December 7, 2012
        Member: $131 per single entry, $115 each for 2+ entries

Non-member: $187 per entry
Postmarked between December 8, 2012 and January 11, 2013
        Member: $172 per single entry, $154 each for 2+ entries
Non-member: $224 per entry

NAGC Special Election for President Elect

NAGC also seeks nominations for the President-Elect, to serve out the vacancy created when Glen Thomas was sworn in as President on November 15, 2012. The President-Elect serves as the President's deputy and performs all duties of the President in the President's absence. He or she succeeds the President when the President's term expires. The President-Elect is responsible for collecting officer reports for Board of Directors meetings and assumes other activities assigned by the President. To qualify for President-Elect, a candidate must have previous service as a member of the Board of Directors. The President-Elect term will expire in the spring of 2014 during the 2014 Communications School when he or she assumes the office of the President.

The response deadline is November 30, 2012. Elections will be conducted online December 3-14, 2012.

For more information regarding leadership opportunities with NAGC, please contact Beth Armstrong, NAGC Executive Director,, 703-538-1787 ext 1780.

Monday, November 19, 2012

City, State, County, Tribal Government Communicators....this is for you!

by Marisa Ellison, Competitions Director for the National Association of Government Communicators and Customer Relations Manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation (Northeast District)

 This blog is not meant to slight our colleagues at the federal level.  Believe me...there are many opportunities for all government communicators to get involved in NAGC.  

This post, however, is meant for those of us who are focused on specific state, county tribal and city issues. Let's face it....these issues, while influenced by the federal government, can be different for those of us at other levels of government. Yet, they all stem from similar circumstance...taxes.  

I work for transportation, and we are totally underfunded, both at the federal level and the state level. Sound familiar? We, as government communicators, do not have direct influence on potential outcomes, yet it is our jobs to share the message of underfunding. Or maybe it's our message to share health information, without the comfort of enough funding. There are so many scenarios. My point is, we are all in this together. We can learn from each other. Share ideas, network, brainstorm. This is what NAGC can do for you. We are here to learn from each other...implement best practices...NOT reinvent the wheel, so to speak.  

So, if you're looking for ways to share, listen, learn and implement, NAGC is for you.  Check us out at The annual Communications School is a great way to exchange ideas and the Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Awards recognize our industry's finest work.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NAGC President's Message

Hello fellow government communicators,

As many of you who have met me probably know, I have two young boys who provide my life with continual anecdotes. A few weeks ago, my son was acting a bit hyper while we were out for dinner, and I told him not to act crazy at the restaurant. His response, “that’s not crazy, dad. THIS is crazy.” And he put his napkin on his head and did a dance around the table. Sometimes, whether you are expecting it or not, life gives you a little bit extra.

Along those lines, I was inducted as President of NAGC yesterday morning. No, I did not have a napkin on my head, but this induction happened a little sooner than expected. Our previous President, Carrie Moritomo, is currently transitioning between government positions and stepped down from her role with NAGC.

First of all, I’d like to thank Carrie for her years of activity and the significant role she’s played in various board and committee positions. She’s really an asset to NAGC and I look forward to her continued activity in our organization.

I’d also like to thank all of you in the NAGC membership. It was a great honor to be elected President Elect last spring and I appreciate the confidence that you have entrusted in me. I am committed to making NAGC what YOU, as NAGC members, want and need it to be. As such, I want to keep an open line of communication with NAGC members. My e-mail is, so please let me know if you have any questions or feedback about anything related to NAGC.

We’ll also be holding a special election for the office of President-Elect in the coming weeks, so please let us know if you have a nomination.

The NAGC board of directors has its annual board retreat set for December 17, and I’ll be sharing some additional information about that soon. If there’s anything you would like us to discuss, please let me know.

Networking has long been identified by NAGC members as the top benefit and we need to improve on our networking offerings. A few things we’re currently working on to that end:

  • Website improvements and enhancements
  • 2013 Communications School
  • 2013 Blue Pencil Gold Screen Awards
  • Increased communications with NAGC members
  • Series of education webinars
  • An “Ask an NAGC Expert” feature for members
  • Increasing networking with international government communicators
  • Member Value Program (MVP)
Thank you again for being a member of NAGC. Please feel free to contact me to share your thoughts.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How to Submit a Winning Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Entry Teleconference Nov. 14

Be recognized! Enter your best work in the National Association of Government Communicator’s 2013 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition. This annual international awards program recognizes superior government communication products and those who produce them.  Complete details and entry forms are available at

Don’t Miss Winning Tips
Join past winners and judges for the “How to Submit a Winning Entry” teleconference on Wednesday,
November 14, 2 pm ET.  Visit for further details.

This year there are 41 categories to choose from, including new and redefined categories for Mobile apps, Photographer’s Portfolio, Audio Communications, Social Media and more.  These enhancements have been made to reflect the changing ways in which we communicate with our audiences. Enter as many categories as you choose in the Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition. The number of opportunities to share your best work, innovation, creativity, and use of technology may surprise you.  One winner will be awarded Best in Show!

The following examples show the range of categories for entering your best work:
  • Publications
  • Media Relations
  • Photography
  • Graphic Design
  • Video, Multimedia
  • Electronic Communications
  • Branding/Rebranding
  • Social Media

Get More Involved—Volunteer to be a Judge!
In addition to entering the Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition, you can also get involved by volunteering as a judge.  Judges will be assigned to categories in which they have not submitted an entry.  More information is available at

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sit In the BIG Chair. . . Be a Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Judge!

by Marisa Ellison, Competitions Director for the National Association of Government Communicators and Customer Relations Manager for the Missouri Department of Transportation (Northeast District)

If you're like me, when you sign up for something, you're in it for the long haul.  You don't give 50% or give 110%.  As communicators and public relations professionals, this is the "Type A" coming out in us!  

Since I had experience judging statewide health care awards, volunteering to judge the coveted Blue Pencil/Gold Screen (BP/GS) awards was natural for me.  Now, I'm the chair of the entire awards ceremony!  However, even if you have never judged anything on any scale, even a pet show, we will help you be successful and the rewards are phenomenal!

Think of all the ideas you can steal..ahem...I mean...borrow...or use...or plaguerize.  I use the philosophy "copying is the best form of flattery."  Then, there is just the plain glory of being a recognized as a judge.

Okay...maybe your name isn't in neon lights.  Yet, you have the opportunity to influence and teach.  Isn't that what we love?  We want someone to learn from us.  

So, my question for you is this: Do you have a talent you would like to share to help others learn?  If so, please consider judging the BP/GS awards.  And, to get a taste for what it involves, join us for the "How to Submit A Winning Entry" teleconference on Wednesday, November 14 at 2 p.m. EST, 1 p.m. CST, 11 a.m., PST.  


Free Teleconference: "How to Win a Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award"
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 2 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST, 11 a.m. PST)
Be sure to take advantage of the FREE teleconference on “How to Win a Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Award.” You’ll hear former Blue Pencil & Gold Screen winners provide hot tips and personal secrets to winning Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards. Join judges Debbie Kulik, KDSC/RTI and Jason McDonald, CDC, both past winners on the teleconference taking place at 2 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.
Dial In Information:
  • Toll free access: 1-877-366-0711
  • Canadian toll free access: 1-866-627-1651
  • International toll access: 1-302-709-8446
  • Participant passcode: 82194997#

Go to for more information.