The Participation Blog

Whhaad They Say?!

Thirty plus years ago, I shifted to a mostly public sector career from a reasonably successful one in media, and then advertising and public relations. At the time, I was astonished by government’s ineptitude in conveying information to the citizens that it supposedly worked for. The people that I worked with had the most honorable of intentions; they had the knowledge, but they were simply ill-equipped to convey that information to people other than their equally knowledgeable peers. I’d come from a place where if you couldn’t communicate really well, you were just out of business. Period. But government didn’t suffer that consequence; it just kept stumbling along, slowly losing public trust and public confidence as it went. I believe that this communication disconnect between government and the governed has led us significantly to where we are today with the public’s core mistrust of government, leadership and expertise. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to write “clear government communication that the public can understand and use.” And there’s something new in the works.