Making My Way Around Town
This week is a little slower than usual at NTIA but, when you’re working in a public affairs office, that’s a good thing. Here are some interesting things I’ve been doing:
At the end of last week, we went to CSPAN with Assistant Secretary Lawrence Stickling for the taping of his appearance on The Communicators. I really enjoyed touring the studio and sitting in the green room during the taping. The interview is a lead up to the ICANN meetings, which will begin in London this Monday, June 23rd, 2014. He discusses the domain name registration system in the interview, which you can watch here.
This week, I have also had the opportunity to sit in on conversations with reporters. The purpose of these meetings is to give the reporter background information or additional resources for the story he or she is writing. All three public affairs staff members are former journalists, who have years of experience in this domain. They often facilitate conversations between journalists and specialists. I’ve observed how helpful these meetings are for reporters, giving them a better understanding of the concepts and helping to ensure they print the correct information. The term “background” is used often, especially at NTIA where only top officials give public comment on issues. This verbal agreement is non-binding, but usually reliable.
I have also been assisting with stakeholder outreach this week. NTIA is a big proponent of the multistakeholder model. This format is used often to develop policy and sort through controversial issues. In addition to reaching out to stakeholders for events and workshops, additional face-to-face stakeholder outreach can benefit any organization. The face-to-face meetings I’ve attended this week have been with trade groups who represent internet or communication companies. Building relationships with these stakeholders helps NTIA gain a general understanding of who is involved in what issues and what factors are most important to them. I have really enjoyed getting to know these organizations.
NTIA is also focused on expanding its use of digital media, as well as improving the quality and frequency of its tweets: follow us @ntiagov! There’s a big difference between an individual’s tweets (i.e. Today I ate a sandwich, look at this picture of my cat) and a government organization’s. Creating informative tweets that are relevant can be a challenge. However, it is important to develop this strategy, as Twitter is an excellent tool for sharing the important work NTIA does. Yesterday, I attended a Citizen Engagement Seminar hosted by Carsoft and focused around social media. The opening keynote by Corina Dubois, Chief of New Media at the State Department, and afternoon keynote by Brittany Stevenson, New Media Associate at the FCC, were really interesting. Ms. Stevenson shared a great video about social media use.
And finally, this week I have been connecting with other NTIA interns by watching the World Cup! We headed to the Laughing Man Tavern after work on Monday to watch the U.S. play Ghana and really had a blast. Despite the occasional long lines, D.C. has a lot of fun to offer. I will be bringing you an informative blog post by the end of summer with my take on the best bars, events, and activities D.C. has to offer.