NoVA Communicators Newsletter – February 2014

This newsletter for communicators in the Northern Virginia region provides some of the latest news and trends in public and media relations, social media, government technology, emergency communications and more.

In This Issue

CDC Public Health Matters Blog: Lessons from Atlanta

What many would call a “dusting,” we Atlantans would call a “snowpocalypse” as evidence by this week’s 2 inches of snow which crippled the city, causing severe gridlock across the metro area, stranding school children and commuters who were forced to abandon cars on the highway. The mayor of Atlanta and Governor Deal have been making the media circuit, trying to explain what happened to cause the city to grind to a halt, but regardless of who’s fault it was, it’s time to take a look at the situation and see what we can learn from a preparedness perspective.
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The 7 Rules of Social Media

When it comes to government entities’ use of social media, it’s tough to know all the rules. But look no further — subject-matter experts have outlined the seven do’s (and don’ts) to help government officials interact with the public and stay out of trouble. On Feb. 3, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors hosted a one-hour webinar on social media featuring three experts. Government organizations from around the country tuned in to hear their guidance and advice for using social media to communicate with the public.
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Where Are the Citizens You’re Trying to Reach? That’s Where You Need to Be.

With people spending an increasing amount of time using social media and mobile devices, it’s no surprise that agencies need to adjust the way they reach the people they need to serve. But which communication channel — social media or mobile — will have the biggest impact on government customer service?
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D.C. Public Safety Agencies Unite Under One Social Media Policy

The District of Columbia wants to encrypt the radio communications of its fire department in an effort to better protect first responders from those who might want to do them harm. The changes to the radio encryption policy come on the heels of an effort to unite all of D.C.’s public safety agencies under one social media policy, which now requires verification when any information or photographs are released via social media sites like Twitter.
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Rome Police Asking Motorists to Highlight Bad Parking on Twitter

It can be hard to define exactly what Twitter is, because it serves so many purposes: sharing with friends, reporting the weather, shouting at celebrities, tracking civil unrest, interacting with big brands and much more besides. Thanks to a pilot scheme running in Rome, you can add reporting parking violations to the list as well.
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Facebook Adjusts Newsfeed to Make Updates from Pages Better, Prefers Links over Plain Text

Facebook pushed out a change to its Newsfeed today: It will promote updates that include links posted by Pages over posts from the same accounts without links. This means when the people running a Page account post a simple status update, it won’t show up on the Newsfeeds of followers as frequently as their posts that share links.
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Instagram is Growing Faster than Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest Combined

Instagram may need to introduce a new filter: white-hot. The photo-sharing app showed strong growth in 2013, according to a report by GlobalWeb Index. Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 10.29.23 AMWhile Facebook showed -3-percent growth in active users, the behemoth social network’s photo-sharing sister service gained 23 percent in active users. Reddit is the second-fastest growing social site, with a 13-percent increase, followed by LinkedIn at 9 percent.
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What It’s Like to Run a One-Person Department

From drawing up emergency plans and coordinating projects to establishing relationships with first responders, the tasks of preparing and educating a county population about what to do when disaster strikes can be overwhelming, even with the resources and staff to do it. But in most small jurisdictions in remote areas of the U.S., one person is commonly charged with doing all of that and with very few resources.
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8 Pointers for Responding to Negative Coverage

It can arise from a long-simmering situation or come out of nowhere. You or your company is being attacked or criticized in public. The way you handle a negative story can make all the difference. Here’s how to respond without fanning the flames of a negative situation.
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