Transparency in the Digital Era

Transparency in the Digital Era
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-04-29
Unit 1Slide Deck: Transparency in the Digital Era
Unit 2Transcript: Transparency in the Digital Era
Unit 3Workbook: Transparency in the Digital Era
Unit 4Recording: Transparency in the Digital Era

Transparency is a success indicator in the public service space. How do organizations effectively achieve this in their efforts in an arena that deals with sensitive if not classified information? This webinar aims to provide practical tips on the what, where, when, why, and how of transparency.

This session’s instructors are two public relations and strategic communications experts: Kate Kimble, the Public Relations Manager for Fort Collins Police Services in Colorado; and Katie Nelson, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator at the Mountain View Police Department in California.

Specifics of the discussion were on:

  • Initiating a change that forges transparency by first understanding the existing conditions and trust within the community and organization.
  • Creating a communication strategy that captures and delivers the needs of both internal and external audiences.
  • The public agency’s role as a reliable source of information for the communities and how this can help foster trust between each other.
  • The value of authenticity and showing emotions during the conversations to have a sense of relatability between the agency and the community.
  • Balancing the emotional and logical side to effectively come up with solutions towards a mutually agreeable outcome.
  • The importance of both proactive and reactive types of communication, what these look like, and what each of these can accomplish based on the conditions.
  • Where the conversations take place online and offline, meeting the audience where they are, and building robust communication channels.
  • Considerations on what should be shared without ending up:
    • Overwhelming the community members with too much information.
    • Overburdening the agency manpower by leveraging existing publicly-accessible reports, data, and other content.
  • Establishing your position as the one reliable source of information for the community by ensuring consistency, accessibility, and engagement and how Fort Collins did this with their Transparency page.
  • Coming up with strategic communication and crisis action plans that promotes transparency by:
    • Defining goals and expectations, aligning these with organizational mission and values, and involving vital stakeholders.
    • Setting the scope and limits of the initiative – what information will be made available to the public, how often it will be shared, and where and when it can be accessed.
    • Finding a common ground to serve as the north star for everyone involved should the means and opinions differ along the way.
    • Working alongside media to provide them with the information that allows the story to be told more effectively.
  • The value of equity of information where you’re meeting the community where they are to deliver the same information across multiple channels.
  • Reviewing the communication channels being used to ensure that efforts are maximized to reach as much of the community as possible.
  • Setting up separate distribution channels for information within the organization and to the public.
  • Ensuring that conversations community members have through the various communication channels maintain the same level of courtesy, professionalism, and thoroughness as they would have in person.
  • Evaluating and tracking qualitative concepts through touchpoint with the community members and utilizing existing reporting systems to measure improvements.

Questions from the audience were on:

  • The court decision to deny the publication of the body cam footage on the Andrew Brown, Jr. case.
  • Building a social media following.
  • How omitting certain details/information work against transparency and trust-building.
  • Using social media to humanize officers.


Webinars with this Speaker


Audience Comments

  • “Speakers had a very current and relevant perspective. Learned about transparency and equity of transparency between agency members and the community.” — Chris
  • “It was interesting hearing the views of how transparency can work in different aspects.” — Kimberly
  • “Great job! Informative and the material was nicely presented!” — KIM
  • “I like how they reiterated the importance of how you frame a response, and the value of being genuine and approachable.” — Michelle
  • “I think both presenters were great. I run social media for recruiting so most of this was more for public info, but it was still informative. I enjoyed it. I really liked the reminder not to forget the internal audiences and the benefit of an informed community.” — Stephanie



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