Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Top U.S. Navy Communicators Recognized

The U.S. Navy Chief of Information yesterday announced the organization's Mass Communication Specialists of the Year. Navy Mass Communications Specialists are enlisted personnel who perform all aspects of Navy public affairs, journalism, photography and other related functions. Each year, the Navy selects the top performers from sailors serving at sea, on land, and in the Navy Reserve. The National Association of Government Communicators joins the Navy in congratulating these government communicators on their achievements.

Mass Communication Specialists of the Year (Sea)
First Class Mass Communication Specialist (MC1) Jayme Pastoric 
Expeditionary Combat Camera, Norfolk, VA
During 2011, MC1 Pastoric was responsible for the Fleet Response Training Plan of 75 active and reserve Combat Sailors. He also both led and trained the Department of Defense's only underwater photographic documentation team, completing 400 dives with more than 6,000 hours of bottom time. Also, while deployed as a diver for Southern Partnership with Mobile Diving Salvage Unit Two last year, he led a detachment responsible for capturing more than 15,000 images and 200 minutes of video footage in four countries. MC1 Pastoric is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of CTG 56.1 Combat Camera detachment.

Mass Communications Specialists of the Year (Shore)
First Class Mass Communication Specialist (MC1)  Cynthia De Leon 
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
Returning to active duty from the reserve component in May 2010, MC1 De Leon has been an integral part of the U.S. 5th Fleet public affairs team overseeing the publication of 2,500 print, photographic and video news products. In addition to serving as leading petty officer, she was also the acting leading chief petty officer for five months.

Junior Mass Communication Specialists of the Year (Sea)
Second Class Mass Communication Specialist (MC2) Kenneth Hendrix
Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet
As the public affairs supervisor for the U.S. 7th fleet staff, MC2 Hendrix maintains the command’s website and social media presence, which has become a key communication tool. Additionally, he helped approve approximately 500 news stories and more than 5,000 photos for release. MC2 Hendrix also provided photographic support for 30 key events throughout the 7th Fleet area of operations.  

Junior Mass Communication Specialists of the Year (Shore)
Second Class Mass Communication Specialist (MC2) Regina Wilken
Navy Information Operations Command Maryland
From January to June 2011, MC2 Wilken served as the command's public affairs officer while the position was vacant. Additionally, she wrote and edited approximately 30 stories as well as photographed more than 50 events for the command's publication, "Anchor Watch." 

Mass Communication Specialists of the Year (Reserve)
First Class Mass Communication Specialist (MC1)  Matthew Olay
NR Navy Public Affairs Support Element (NPASE) West
MC1 Olay is the leading petty officer for Navy Reserve NPASE West and was selected as the command's Sailor of the Year 2011. He led a two-man team during Exercise CARAT in Singapore, where he shot, edited and submitted 85 photos and one video. He also oversaw media teams documenting ceremonies for the commemoration of 9/11, Centennial of Naval Aviation and the 2011 Miramar Air Show, resulting in 57 photos, four news stories and two video products.

“These Sailors represent the best within our enlisted ranks,” said Rear Admiral Dennis Moynihan,”and I'm grateful for their dedication to service and their commitment to telling the Navy story.” 

Submitted by John Verrico

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Registration Now Open for 2012 NAGC Communications School!

It's that time again! Registration is now open for the NAGC 2012 Communication School, "Government Communicators - Telling America's Stories", being held June 5-8, 2012 in the Washington, DC area at the Sheraton National Hotel, Arlington, VA. 

2012 Featured Speakers and Topics
Also, don't miss the Government Communications Expo, June 7-8, showcasing the latest trends in government communications services, goods, and technologies.

Who Should Attend

Federal, state, and local government communicators including contractors who direct and facilitate government communications-editors, writers, graphic artists, webmasters, video professionals, broadcasters, photographers, information specialists, and agency spokespersons.

For registration, schedule and accepted speakers, visit

Last year's conference featured a number of speakers, including former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura's press secretary, John Woodele. A recap of his presentation, "My Governor Can Beat Up Your Governor," was featured in this blog in May. The 2011 school also featured the presentation of the NAGC "Communicator of the Year" award to Adm. Thad Allen, who acted as the incident commander for the explosion on the Deep Water Horizon oil drill platform and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do Federal Communicators Roadblock the Media? NAGC Weighs In

NAGC Director of Professional Development John Verrico weighed in on the recent survey by the Society of Professional Journalists that revealed that reporters feel that federal public affairs officers hinder their efforts to report on government issues. In a March 12 article in Government Executive, Verrico provided the following response:

“Government public affairs personnel should be considered a journalist’s best friend. Our role is that of a facilitator, not a blockade to a story. It is in the best interests of both of us to see that a reporter gets the information he or she needs in order to write an accurate account of whatever the issue may be. The luxury of having a dedicated beat reporter has become rare, so government spokespersons are working with general assignment reporters more often than not. For a reporter just coming onto a topic for the first time, it is beneficial to have someone to turn to for clarity and context that may not be apparent in a subject-matter-expert’s initial response to a question. It does no one any good if a story is inaccurate or incomplete or if the information is misunderstood.”

What is your response to this survey, and what steps do you take to ensure that the media has access to quick and accurate information? How do you communicate your protocol to media to help them understand that you aren't trying to block their access to information?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) Offers Wealth of Case Studies, Helpful Information

For government communicators involved with emergency response, homeland security or other types of related responsibilities, Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) is a virtual encyclopedia of crisis case studies and best practices. A creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), LLIS features:
  • Lessons Learned (reports and observations about a variety of crisis topics, including real incidents such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, as well as general topics such as evacuations, school shootings, etc.)
  • Best Practices: LLIS describes this information as "peer-validated techniques, procedures, good ideas, or solutions that work and are solidly grounded upon actual experience in operations, training, and exercises." 
  • Good Stories: Success stories from various local, state and federal government entities.
  • Practice Notes: Brief descriptions of innovative practices, procedures, methods, programs, or tactics that an organization uses to adapt to changing conditions or to overcome an obstacle or challenge. 
  • After-Action Reports
  • Member Directory
  • Message Board: I found this feature to be an especially promising one, with forums divided into very specific types of incidents, the most popular of which is "Ask LLIS," which allows members to pose questions and get advice. 
  • A list of recent incidents with links to more info. 
In order to register and have access to LLIS, you must be verified as a homeland security or emergency response professional.

Once, you've been verified, you'll become part of a network of emergency response experts that can help you navigate through just about any type of situation. This is truly a great site.