Friday, April 19, 2013

A true and successful partnership between government, the media and the public!

Posted by John Verrico, NAGC President-Elect

A great sigh of relief went out in the Boston area – and across the country – this evening with the successful capture of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Congratulations go to the incredible efforts of all the law enforcement and emergency response personnel from the dozens of federal, state and local agencies involved. Their efforts, resulting in the death of one suspect and the capture of the other, were nothing less than heroic.

This incident, and the horrific and deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas this week, also provide very clear examples of the importance of government communicators. The public information officers of the involved emergency response agencies played essential roles in getting critical information to local residents that helped keep innocent people out of harm’s way. They worked with media to reach the public, and engaged the citizenry in direct communication through all sorts of social media channels.

There is no doubt that there were also many, many government communications professionals working behind the scenes to make all of these communications possible, including unsung heroes such as social media managers, webmasters, and speechwriters.  
In the case of the manhunt for the bombers in the Boston suburbs, government communicators engaged many thousands of people to collect information and imagery that ultimately led to the identification and apprehension of the bombers. And the public was eager to engage!  Investigators received hundreds of hours of video materials and more than a million photographic images and thousands of tips.
The information they received from these efforts provided the intelligence the investigators needed to bring an end to a terrifying few days.

On behalf of the National Association of Government Communicators, congratulations to everyone involved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims of these events, and wish a speedy and full recovery for those who are still suffering from injuries.

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