Monday, January 20, 2014

The case for conferences -- your professional development

If you are a Government employee, chances are you’re a bit frustrated by recent restrictions on travel and attendance at conferences, workshops and other professional development opportunities.  No one argues the fact that spending needs to be constrained, but the easy-button, low-hanging fruit model of reductions is short sighted and damaging to a staff’s proficiency.

Across the board funding cuts and constraints on the types of events you can attend (much less have your organization pay for) have a chilling effect on professional development.  In the field of communications, it is a particularly hard as most communication shops are small and the ability to conduct quality, in-house training generally pales in comparison to what is offered externally. Requests for outside training tend to fall upon the deaf ears of the folks who often don’t understand our career field or who can’t understand the need to appropriately fund and resource our staffs when there are so many ‘essential’ elements competing for scarce dollars. 

Thanks to several scandalous adventures, conferences conjure images of frivolous and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. This is a shame, because the vast majority of events attended by government employees demonstrate the commitment to excellence and continuous improvement that are the hallmarks of the majority of those in government service.

As communicators, we know that deeds must align with words. So, if we’re not allowed to attend professional development events, how can we demonstrate their intrinsic value?

Recently, ASAE submitted testimony to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee as part of the hearing titled “Examining Conference and Travel Spending Across the Federal Government.”  ASAE’s testimony highlights the importance of training at conferences and other educational events for government employees.  ASAE thanks the association community for the great response they received from their call for comments.

If you are still interested in submitting comments on the value of meetings, the deadline is January 29. Comments can be submitted to  Stories from associations around the country regarding the impediments to government attendance at conferences can be found on the Power of A Face-to-Face Meetings section of the website.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Survey: The state of digital communications in government

Dear Communicators,

Do you use digital media as a communications tool for internal or external audiences?
If so,  your participation in a survey on how government departments and agencies, throughout North America, are using digital communications.

The National Association of Government Communicators, FedInsider, and Adobe have partnered to conduct this survey, which will explore use, measurement, and perceptions of various types of digital communication in use by North American public sector professionals to reach citizens, stakeholders, and staff.

Your perspective is important, and we hope you’ll spend a few moments sharing your opinion on the state of digital communications in government. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete.

To participate in the survey click here or visit  

The results of this survey will provide insight on how government communicators across North America are currently using digital communications and how those practices are projected to change in the future. 

These results will be delivered at a complimentary webinar in February 2014 as well as published at and  

Thank you very much for your insight,

- NAGC, FedInsider, and Adobe

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Call for judges for the 2014 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards

The competitions chairperson for the National Association of Government Communicators' Annual Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards, seeks your help in judging entries from throughout the United States submitted by communicators in local, state, federal and military organizations.  

Each year we receive more than 300 entries in 41 award categories. That kind of participation creates a high demand for judges who can evaluate the submissions and ultimately determine which products meet the high standards of the Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards.  

As a judge, you can select the category (or categories!) you wish to judge.  Got a colleague who wants to judge?  Sign them up because judging is a team effort! 

Don't let the number of categories or submissions intimidate you or give you the perception that there's a really big time commitment.  Depending on the category entries, judging generally takes one to three hours of each judges' time.  Our judges are afforded plenty of time from when they receive entries to the deadline for responses. Judging this year is likely to be done in March or April.

Serving as a judge is a great way to reinforce your reputation for expertise in a specific area of communications and bolster your resume.

Please take a moment to learn more at  We may be past our Dec. 31, 2013, deadline, but we still need your help in judging this year's entries.