2017 Fall Conference -- Fairfax

  • November 01, 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Fairfax, VA


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Time: Check in – 9:00 a.m.

Program begins – 9:30 a.m.

Location: Waterford at Fair Oaks Conference Center
12025 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway
Fairfax, VA 22033


9:30 a.m. Welcome 

9:35 a.m. Social Media as Public Forums: First Amendment Implications

Leo Rogers, County Attorney
Glen Barbour, Public Affairs & Communications Officer

Loudoun County

Loudoun County has recently been engaged in lawsuits that claim elected officials’ social media are public forums rather than private accounts. As a result, the lawsuits claim that any attempt to restrict commenting by members of the public violates free speech. Judges in the Alexandria Federal District Court have issued diametrically opposed decisions on the issue. As a result of the case in which the judge ruled social media is a public forum, branches of the ACLU have filed suits in Maryland, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. Even President Trump has faced similar allegations when he blocked some of his Twitter followers. This discussion presents the issue that government communicators must understand as they administer their social media accounts in today’s environment.

11:00 a.m. Growing Social Media Audiences: A Case Study

Brian Tinsman, Digital Properties Manager
Loudoun County Department of Economic Development

Through a series of strategies in the ever-evolving and saturated world of social media, the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development experienced continued success in growing its audiences. In fiscal year 2017, for example, the department’s Twitter followers increased by 22%, Facebook followers increased by 27%, and Instagram followers increased by 100%. The department credits these wins with increasing website visits by 90%. The department’s digital properties manager will present on how he developed a digital content strategy to build a bigger following.

12:00 p.m. Italian Buffet Lunch

Caesar salad; garlic and cheese bread sticks; ricotta stuffed pasta shells and pesto cream sauce; Italian grilled vegetables; assorted cheese cakes; iced tea; lemonade; coffee, and tea on request.

1:00 p.m. Crisis Communication: The City of Charlottesville’s Experience

Miriam Dickler, Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville

In August 2017, a series of events focused the eyes of the nation on Charlottesville. The city’s communicators faced a number of challenges and, unfortunately, tragedies. On that day, the city’s communicators and colleagues worked to balance the needs of the media and the public. A rally in the city’s streets, a homicide, and the crash of a police helicopter brought communicators together to leverage their collective talents to address their urgent communication needs. The city’s communications director will share her experience responding to events in Charlottesville.

2:00 p.m. NewsCenter: Local Government Brand Journalism

Tony Castrilli, Director of Public Affairs
Greg Licamele, Director of External Communications
Fairfax County

How to develop, package, promote and publish relevant, timely and actionable audience-focused information for your community. Fairfax County Government’s NewsCenter represents a shift away from standard press releases. It is a full-fledged editorial service for residents that is written in a unique voice focused almost exclusively on an audience-first mindset. It features a comprehensive digital presence, detailed social media strategy, branding and additional features such as embedded content, weather, traffic and a social media hub. NewsCenter is a platform to tell stories and reach audiences directly through an owned platform the county manages, while sharing articles on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Apple News, Flipboard and Google News.

3:00 p.m. Closing Announcements

Virginia Government Communicators -- Call 804-646-5224 during business hours for mailing address if needed
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