PIOs regularly monitor interviews with government officials, report says

INDIANAPOLIS — In a survey of more than 100 government public information officers, about 65…

Georgia (Mar 14, 2013) — INDIANAPOLIS — In a survey of more than 100 government public information officers, about 65 percent said they felt it necessary to supervise interviews of their agency’s staff. Conducted by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Government Communicators, the survey responded to a 2012 poll of government reporters who said PIOs and public affairs officers monitoring their interviews were censoring the media.


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“This survey provides valuable information on how interactions with the media are perceived by PIOs, and by extension, government officials,” said Linda Petersen, SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee Chair. “Although the perceptions of PIOs and the media about this relationship are significantly different, this gives us a place to start a dialogue.”

The survey respondents comprised 154 current and former members of NAGC, and nearly all are are employed as a PIO or PAO for a federal, state or local government agency. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed said monitoring interviews helps ensure accurate quotation of their staff.

Carolyn S. Carlson, an assistant professor of communication at Kennesaw State University, and Roberta Jackson, a graduate research assistant at the university, compiled a report of the survey’s findings, which is available online.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu