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Home > SPJ News > PIOs regularly monitor interviews with government officials, report says

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PIOs regularly monitor interviews with government officials, report says


3/12/2013


For Immediate Release

Contacts:
Christine DiGangi, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317.927.8000 ext. 205, cdigangi@spj.org
Sonny Albarado, SPJ President, 501.551.8811, spjsonny@gmail.com

INDIANAPOLIS — In a survey of more than 100 government public information officers, about 65 percent said they felt it necessary to supervise interviews of their agency’s staff. Conducted by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Government Communicators, the survey responded to a 2012 poll of government reporters who said PIOs and public affairs officers monitoring their interviews were censoring the media.

“This survey provides valuable information on how interactions with the media are perceived by PIOs, and by extension, government officials,” said Linda Petersen, SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee Chair. “Although the perceptions of PIOs and the media about this relationship are significantly different, this gives us a place to start a dialogue.”

The survey respondents comprised 154 current and former members of NAGC, and nearly all are are employed as a PIO or PAO for a federal, state or local government agency. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said monitoring interviews helps ensure accurate quotation of their staff.

Carolyn S. Carlson, an assistant professor of communication at Kennesaw State University, and Roberta Jackson, a graduate research assistant at the university, compiled a report of the survey’s findings, which is available online.

Carlson will unite journalists and PAOs for a panel discussion on the topic in a session at the NAGC Communications School on Thursday, April 18 at 10 a.m. The NAGC Communications School will be held April 16 to19 in Arlington, Va.

SPJ President Sonny Albarado praised Carlson and Jackson for their work on the two surveys.

“The data provided by the surveys are part of an initiative that seeks to call attention to and resolve issues that journalists say occur with increasing frequency not only at the federal level, but also when dealing with state and local government agencies,” Albarado said.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.

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