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About the Federal Communicators Network (FCN)


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A short description of the Federal Communicators Network, updated 10/23/2011. Visit us online at

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About the Federal Communicators Network (FCN)

  1. 1. About the Federal Communicators NetworkVersion 1.0, last revised 10/23/2011 by Dannielle BlumenthalI. Our PurposeThe Federal Communicators Network (FCN) provides free training to federal communicators to help them servethe taxpayer. We promote the adoption of best practices in communication across the federal government in threeprimary ways: • Training: Live workshops and telephone seminars • Networking: Provision of live and online networking opportunities • Best practices: Dissemination of best practice adviceFCN helps the government by helping its communicators. The many benefits include: • Reduced mission support and training costs: Through networking and training, communicators do a better job for the taxpayer without having to "reinvent the wheel," thus saving the government time and money. • Enhanced service to the taxpayer: Additionally, effective and efficient government communication enables citizens to know where to go to obtain the services and information they need. • Increased compliance: Good government communication also gives citizens a greater understanding of how to comply with the laws, rules and regulations that apply to them, which in turn can boost compliance.Our first official charter was adopted October 12, 2011. View it here.II. Support for Federal Employees, With Participation for Any Interested PartyAlthough FCN membership is free of charge and limited to federal employees, anyone can subscribe to ournewsletter. We encourage you to do so to learn about upcoming training events offered by FCN and others, somerestricted to federal employees but many open to contractors and the public. (If you sign up for our newsletter withyour federal e-mail address, this automatically makes you a member.)In addition to the newsletter, we host free and open discussion forums and offer learning resources freely on theWeb.There are so many ways to get involved - all of these open to the public unless otherwise indicated: • Subscribe to our newsletter • Attend an upcoming event • Sponsor an event or offer to speak • Join our group on LinkedIn (federal employees only) • Follow us on Facebook • Join the discussion at GovLoop • Follow us on Twitter: @FedCommNet • Download a Presentation • Bookmark our site: monthly newsletter features training and networking announcements from the FCN and other trainingproviders in the Washington, D.C. area. Contact FCN to submit an announcement.III. Leadership, Membership and Who We ServeInitially, FCN had a chair and a coordinator. The first—and only—chair was from the CIA. When he retired, weturned to people on detail to the NPR to act as coordinators, including Cindy Saboe, Pat Norris, Donise Cheeks(IRS), Regina Downing (SSA), and others. That said, the "face of FCN," has evolved over the years.
  2. 2. • 2011-Present: Dannielle Blumenthal, U.S. Customs and Border Protection • 2006-2011: Jeff Brooke, Government Printing Office • 1996-2006: Pat Wood, Social Security AdministrationToday, FCN also has a Board of Directors comprised of federal employees from the Departments of HomelandSecurity, Transportation, and Treasury; the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Personnel Management,and the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Note: FCN is an independent network and leaders and members do notrepresent, officially or unofficially, their respective agencies.)FCN members perform the following types of functions in their agencies: • Public affairs • Web and social media • Internal communication and change management • Outreach and marketing • Media relations • Mission support specialists or detailees engaged in communication activitiesAt last count in 2008, FCN had between 500-600 members. At its height we had almost 1,000 in January 2001,when the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, its original sponsor, came to an end.IV. Our Sponsors and Supporters • Our first meeting was held at The White House, to launch the FCN in 1996 (see "Our Beginnings.") We met again with the White House in the summer of 2010 to talk about how FCN could help disseminate the message of Open Government throughout federal agencies. • Our meetings have been hosted by the Government Printing Office, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the General Services Administration. (In a pinch, weve also gathered at Teaism restaurant, in Penn Quarter.) • FCN has a history of partnering with sponsors, including the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), to offer free or (occasionally) low-cost events. Speakers offer their time on a pro bono basis. • Our first tele-seminar, held in August 2011, was sponsored by the National Association of Government Communicators. With 120 participants, it was the largest monthly training event we have held in the past two years. • In addition, Government Executive Magazine and the Council for Excellence in Government have supported FCNs work since its inception.V. Our Beginnings • FCN began as a collaboration between Pat Wood from the Social Security Administration and Cindy Saboe from the State Department, when both were on detail to the National Performance Review, later called the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. • Pat and Cindy had expected to call the group the Federal Editors Network, since then Vice- President Al Gore asked FCN to organize federal editors to get the news of reinvention out to the field. We had two or three meetings with federal editors, but they suggested opening up the new group to all kinds of communicators with a name that was more inclusive. • FCN was formally established by Vice-President Al Gore in 1996. He envisioned it as a grassroots, interagency network of federal publication editors who could bring the message of "Reinventing Government" to the average federal employee - a precursor to todays "Gov 2.0" movement. (Fuller description here.) • The first meeting was in August 1996 at the White House Conference Center. More than 100 people crowded into a room that officially held only 80 people.Note: All opinions expressed by members are their own and do not necessarily represent those of their respectiveagencies or organizations. Board members participate independently and not as official representatives of theirrespective agencies. Historical facts are rendered based on the best documentation and recollections available.Site content edited and maintained by Dannielle Blumenthal; contact her to report a bug. Logo created using CoolText.   2