Influencing and shaping legislation, rolling out new public policy programs, producing brochures to generate community awareness, and so much more, these are all duties that fall under governmental public relations, aka “public affairs.” The 1913 Gillett Amendment regulated the “politics of communication” because people weren’t keen on the persuasive influence of public relations in government. Many sought to have strict limits put on the amount of government spending for public relations. To avoid the threat to governmental PR, professionals began to refer to it as “public affairs,” in the hope of changing negative perceptions of public relations.
Modern-day public affairs is extremely important to government and has expanded to include a multitude of responsibilities. Government communicators can be thought of as civil service agents because they affect policy that impacts the masses. They play an important role within the framework of huge government agencies and link them to the public they serve. Yet while many of these communicators hold top positions and sit close to directors and executives, their communication efforts are often still very controlled. Dr. Michael Turney, professor of communication at Northern Kentucky University, sites four unique characteristics of government communications that makes it different from profit-motivated business:
- Direct and powerful impact publicly servicing Americans
- Diverse and multiple levels of accountability due to strict government leadership structures
- A “fish bowl” environment
- Limiting budgeting constraints
As the center of politics and government, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is also a hub for public affairs. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), National Capital Chapter hosts many networking and programming events that cater specifically to government communicators. In addition, PRSA has a Public Affairs and Government Section that provides members with “training and resources relevant to communicators in all levels of government and branches of the military, as well as those at counseling firms, corporations and associations who are responsible for communicating with various audiences on public policy or public safety issues.”
At News Generation, we’ve partnered with many governmental agencies, as well as agencies outside of the government operating under similar structures, to educate citizens on healthcare issues, retirement and emergency preparation. With our commitment to telling impactful, important stories we understand that sharing government information with the citizens it impacts is a communication role to be taken seriously. To generate massive audience awareness, we work with radio stations around the country to share your messages that affect citizens nationwide.