Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How are you reaching your stakeholders?

The federal government, in looking to achieve fiscal efficiencies, has placed significant limitations on the abilities of government agencies to participate in or hold conferences.

Read the New York Times  and Washington Post articles from 2012 about this activity, and the original Executive Order.

Just this week, there was an interview on Federal News Radio about a ‘match-up’ event where service contractors meet with government agencies about their needs. Because of budget constraints and new policies, government representatives have had to pull out of attending. This means the government cannot connect with service providers and much-needed services go unfulfilled.

Is this happening across all levels and agencies of government?

The National Association of Government Communicators is gathering information on how these cuts are impacting government’s ability to communicate with stakeholders.

Please take this brief 10-question survey on how your agency uses conferences as a means of stakeholder outreach and engagement, and networking.

Government agency employees only, please!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Register for the NAGC 2013 Communications School

Register Today!

NAGC 2013 Communications School

April 16-19, 2013
Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia

Basic Registration Fee:
Early Bird Rates through March 15, 2013:
  • Members: $350
  • Non-Members: $750
After March 15, 2013:
  • Members: $775
  • Non-Members: $875
Full Registration Fee:
(Full registration fee includes membership through Sept. 30, 2013)
  • Early Bird Rate through March 15, 2013: $735
  • After March 15, 2013: $860
Pre-Conference Training Workshop Fees:
  • One full-day workshop
    Members: $210
    Non-Members: $260
  • One half-day workshop
    Member: $130
    Non-Members: $160

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DEADLINE TODAY ~ JANUARY 15 for the 2013 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition

2013 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition Call for Entries
Join NAGC and Save on Entries!


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

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

Join NAGC Now--Save on Entries
Please visit and join today for savings not only on your Blue Pencil & Gold Screen entries but on the NAGC Communications School in April.  For a full listing of membership benefits, please check out the website.

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
NAGC: Good Communications … Good Government

Mark your calendar:
NAGC 2013 Communications School, April 16-19, 2013 Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, VA

Monday, January 14, 2013

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 and elected officials; as well as handling controversy surrounding socio-political issues such as same-sex marriage, unemployment and 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 Asia; disease outbreaks in the Middle East; famine in Africa; earthquakes; typhoons; avalanches; political corruption scandals in China; 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 theaters!

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 School.

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.

Friday, January 11, 2013

NAGC Presents a Special Webinar, Lessons Learned: Engaging Citizens in War-Torn Countries

Rear Admiral Vic Beck
Rear Admiral Vic Beck
Vice Chief of Information
U.S. Navy
How do you communicate with and engage citizens who are just trying to survive? Especially, if you are the occupying force in war-torn areas?

Rear Admiral Vic Beck was mobilized to run the public affairs efforts from the headquarters element in both Iraq and Afghanistan and will share the real-world strategies and tactics used in both wars. A seasoned PR agency and corporate communications executive, Admiral Beck called upon his civilian experience to help the citizens of these war-torn countries better understand the coalition’s efforts and actions. What lessons did he take away from the experience to help government communicators with everyday challenges here on the home front?

Registration is FREE for NAGC Members! $25 for non-members.
Register by January 30, 2013. Once registration is received, you will be sent instructions for joining the webinar on January 31, 2013.

Download the registration form at: 

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Greetings from the NAGC President

I hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and that you are entering 2013 on a great note. The NAGC Board of Directors closed 2012 in positive fashion last month with our annual board retreat. The one-day planning session helped to create a framework for the organization in 2013. Thanks to all of my fellow board members and NAGC management staff for making this a productive and successful meeting.

Our primary focus at the retreat was examining how we can create new benefits for NAGC members and enhance existing ones.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s going on with NAGC. We’ve posted the Board Retreat notes in the Members Only section of the NAGC website at

Ask an NAGC Expert: This is a new NAGC-member-only service that allows you to post a question, case study or other communications scenario and get feedback from NAGC’s panel of experts. We’ve just launched the subgroup on LinkedIn here:

Monthly Webinars: NAGC is launching monthly webinars, which are free to NAGC members. The first webinar will take place on Thursday, Jan. 31, when Rear Admiral Vic Beck shares his experiences with engaging citizens in war-torn countries. More information at

Happy Hours and Regional Gatherings: NAGC is planning another happy hour in the DC area for the first quarter. In addition, we’re targeting other areas of the country for regional PIO meetings and workshops. We’ll communicate more about this as plans solidify.

President-Elect: Congratulations to John Verrico, the new NAGC President-Elect. John will serve in this role until 2014, when he’ll become the next NAGC President. John is a longtime NAGC member and is the Chief of Media Relations, Science & Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Communications School: we’re putting the final touches on the 2013 Communications School in Arlington, VA, April 16-19, and expect to send out a draft agenda, descriptions of the sessions and registration information in the very near future.

Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Awards: The entries are rolling in, but there’s still time for you to submit an entry. Deadline is January 11.

Website Revisions: We know the website is due for an overhaul and we’re working to identify upgrades that will consolidate NAGC communications, improve navigation and make more information accessible to members. More to come on that.

Outreach to International Communicators: NAGC is exchanging information and interacting with government communicators across the globe. Vuk Vujnovic, Head of Public Relations Bureau for the Government of Montenegro, will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Communications School. Vujnovic led the efforts to establish the South Eastern European Government Communicators (SEECOM) forum, where NAGC was represented by John Verrico last September. NAGC Communications Director Derrick Silas also recently met with Russian delegates from the Open World Program.

Friday, January 4, 2013

NAGC's Communicator of the Year Nominations

Do you know an outstanding government communicator? A public servant or organization that set an example for others in 2012?

Each year, the National Association of Government Communicators recognizes a government communicator who has exemplified the best or most innovative communications practices and helped instill public trust by effectively presenting accurate, timely and meaningful information, sometimes under exceptional circumstances.

NAGC is now accepting nominations for its “Communicator of the Year” award. The deadline for entering a nomination is January 11, 2013 and the winner will be honored at NAGC’s 2013 Communications School in Arlington, VA, April 16-19.

Past winners include:

·         Judy Gish, Public Information Officer for the California Department of Transportation's (Caltrans) District 7, who coordinated communications for the “Carmeggedon” closing of I-405 in Los Angeles during a mid-July weekend.

·         U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), National Incident Commander during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

·         Linda Wilson, I-64 Community Relations Manager, Missouri Department of Transportation, for handling the closing down of a major interstate highway to 2.5 million residents of a metropolitan region to replace 10 miles of Interstate 64 in St. Louis.

·         David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, for sounding the warning about government finances.

·         Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida

More details about the NAGC Communicator of the Year, eligibility requirements and nomination instruction here. Who do you think deserves mention as the "best of the best" for 2012?  Submit your nomination today!