National Partnership for Reinventing Government

Table of Contents

Are You a Bureaucrat?


"Communication is the essential life blood of organizational life."

- Ann Harriman

Communicators fill a unique role. We are career employees who are part journalist and part flack. Although we usually serve as advocates for journalism and a free press, we are not considered working journalists. Many times, our bosses don't want to trust us with sensitive information, because, after all, we often talk to reporters and correspondents.

Communicators have to negotiate the bureaucracy while translating gobbledegook into plain language. We are the ones who put news releases, publications, and Web sites to the test. If we can understand it, then perhaps the public-our customers-will greet our products by saying: "This is from the government. I'll be able to understand it."

Founded in 1996, the Federal Communicators Network,, has more than 700 members who are involved in disseminating information within and outside government. Our membership includes writers, editors, public affairs specialists, program managers, analysts, speech writers, Web masters, artists, photographers, graphic artists, and librarians. With this range of talent and expertise, we set out to create a guidebook for both new and seasoned communicators.

This guidebook, written, edited, and published by members of the Federal Communicators Network and other communicators, is our attempt to:
  • offer some general guidance for other federal, state, regional, and local communicators;
  • compile a list of sources and resources to help communicators refine and sharpen their skills; and
  • improve the trust between government and the public by helping us communicate clearly to the public and by making government's message relevant to our customers.
Marci Hilt
Project Manager

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