What is a public information officer?

by

Jon Udell

If you’re a public information officer, what do you do? According to Wikipedia:

Public Information Officers (PIOs) are the communications coordinators or spokespersons of certain governmental organizations (i.e. city, county, school district, state government and police/fire departments). They differ from public relations departments of private organizations in that marketing plays a more limited role. The primary responsibility of a PIO is to provide information to the media and public as required by law and according to the standards of their profession. Many PIOs are former journalists, bringing unique and relevant experience to the position. During crises and emergencies, PIOs are often identified by wearing helmets or vests with the letters “PIO” on them.

I have a different idea about what the job (in larger cities and states) or role (in smaller cities and towns) should be. Not only, or even mainly, a spokesperson. Rather, a mentor and coach, helping…

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