Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards

Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-05-02
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards
Unit 2Transcript: Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards
Unit 3Workbook: Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards
Unit 4Recording: Media Mavens A PIO Panel about How Small Teams Deliver Big Rewards

Public Information Officers (PIOs) serve multiple functions critical to agency operations and public relations while facing multiple pressures and challenges from internal and external stakeholders. This webinar provides guidance for PIOs – tools, tactics, tricks, and tips – to effectively handle the demanding public information landscape.

This session’s panel includes:

  • Sarah Boyd, Public Relations Manager, Clay County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office
  • Nelly Miles, Public & Governmental Affairs Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI)
  • Kate Kimble, Public Information Director, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Katie Nelson, experienced law enforcement strategic communicator and journalist

Topics they tackled in their discussion include:

  • Key elements to do the job effectively – highlighting the importance of fostering trust and relationships, time management and flexibility, and leaving bandwidth space for operational sustainability.
  • The benefits of cultivating a partnership between the PIO and the agency leader in terms of tone-setting and conveying the agency’s message, and sharing information accurately and promptly to the public.
  • How clarity in the PIO’s role and support from leadership allows for organizational and community buy-in.
  • Strategies to secure buy-in by showing up authentically and understanding what the agency’s team members and community members value.
  • The importance of a PIO amidst crises in terms of keeping the workforce and the public up to date, and leveraging feedback from stakeholders to manage the agency’s reputation.
  • How crucial it is to integrate the PIO team and its processes into employee training to communicate its role and the consequences of not keeping them in the loop.
  • Utilizing newsletters to shape organizational culture, foster buy-in, and facilitate connection among team members.
  • Debunking misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about the role.
    • That the PIO/Comms Team cannot do everything and has a limit to the scope of their work.
    • That content doesn’t just happen and must be planned intentionally and strategically.
    • That negative public sentiment and large-scale movements cannot be countered by just releasing positive stories.
    • That the PIO cannot control the cadence of media and boundaries and expectations must be set for both the command staff and the media.
  • The different possible reporting structures for PIOs and the advantages of being a direct report and not being a part of the command staff.
  • Critical elements of PIO work: The PIO must be informed immediately and not be the last to know, and that being a PIO is a perishable skill that requires constant updates and training to keep up with changes.
  • Concepts to keep in mind to be successful in the role when one does not have a formal communications and journalism background.
  • The value of self-care and understanding the impact of stress and trauma that comes with the job.
  • The hardest parts of the job being weathering reputational crises, taking public sentiment personally, and the job’s tendency to consume one’s energy.
  • The importance of a network to brainstorm and problem-solve with to succeed in a PIO role.

Points raised during the Q&A are about:

  • Conveying the importance of the PIO role through data, allies, and visibility.
  • Access to the newsletter mentioned as a means to foster buy-in and organizational culture.
  • Incorporating retirees, volunteers, and employee’s family members into communications efforts.
  • Resources and training for new PIOs.


Click here to view and register for other upcoming PIO, Social Media and Communications webinars on the JCH Platform.



Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Kate, Katie, Nelly, and Sarah were ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!!! Thank you all for a jam-packed session that I’m sure motivated and encouraged others just as myself!!!”



Additional Resources
17 days ago
After the Webinar: Media Mavens. Q&A with the Panelists
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Thoughts on Planning from Katie Nelson
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