Apr 1, 2009

Twist on Citizen-Jounalist: The Fed-Journalist

Sheila Campbell, former Peace Corps intranet manager and currently on staff at GSA as Manager of Webcontent.gov and Web Manager University AND co-chair of the Federal Web Managers Council, somehow has squeezed out some time to join the blogging team at Tech President.

She said
In full disclosure, you’ll see from my bio that I’m no professional writer or journalist like many of the other bloggers. I doubt you’ll be reading my posts because of my brilliant prose. But what I’m hoping I can offer—as co-chair of the Federal Web Managers Council—is an insider’s view of the government web manager community and the challenges and issues we face every day in trying to transform government websites to better serve the public. I want to share some observations from inside the trenches. And I want to get a dialogue going about how we can work together to effect meaningful, lasting change. Over the past year, I’ve seen too many conversations in the echo chamber, where government people just talk to government people or the “we-want-to-reform-government” folks only talk to other government reform folks. This blog is a small attempt to try to address that. --Read Sheila's entire inaugural post.
Sheila is among many in government who are working to bridge the gap between government and the rest-of-the-world. But she had some reservations that her bosses at the General Services Administration--the agency that oversees buildings and buying for the federal government--would not want her to blog.
But, in fact, they embraced it, as they have with other new media efforts. It was refreshing to hear them say, “it’s no different than other forms of public speaking or representation you would normally do. Just follow the same guidelines as you would otherwise. Then go for it.”
Lessons I am taking from the making of a new Fed-Journalist are, first, don't be afraid to ask permission. Times are changing and if you make a good case the answer may be "Yes!" Second, don't be afraid to be turned down. There is a growing number of examples throughout government. Use models that exist. And if someone says, "No!" you have at least tilled the soil for the next time.

Looking forward to Sheila's blog posts in the future. Go to Tech President and tell her, "hi!"

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