The Voice | Winter 2020


Volume 8 | Issue 1

Chair's Corner

Betsy Lynch Georgia, NCSL LINCSHello, everyone and Happy New Year! My name is Betsy Theroux, your LINCS chair for 2019-2020.

I serve as the director of media services for the Georgia House of Representatives, where I have worked for more than eight years. Our nonpartisan office functions as a communications and member services office for all 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives. 

I have been involved in NCSL and LINCS since I started working in the legislature and love the unique opportunity that the organization offers for staff to connect with other legislative staffers from around the country and share ideas and best practices. This forum NCSL provides has allowed me to learn from others and grow in my profession, and I am so passionate about the work that NCSL does to foster professional development for legislative staff. I am especially passionate about what we have accomplished in our staff association, LINCS, in recent years and look forward to another exciting year ahead! 
LINCS has been building momentum over the last several years, and we had record attendance at our professional development seminar (PDS) in Kansas City, Mo., in 2019. As our staff association continues to grow, we are constantly presented with fresh ideas, which keeps LINCS content relevant and engaging. 

In the year ahead, I hope we can continue to build upon that momentum and engage with even more legislative communicators across the country. I plan to send regular communication via quarterly newsletters that include current trends, tools and tricks of the trade, and I hope these newsletters will serve as a great resource for all staff, especially those who may not be able to travel to the professional development seminars. 

This year is particularly exciting for me because LINCS will participate this October in a special PDS in Atlanta: Staff Hub ATL 2020 will bring together six of NCSL’s professional staff associations. We are working hard to create great session content that will appeal to communication staffers, while also venturing into other relevant topic areas.  

Whether you are an active member of LINCS, or you just discovered our staff association, I welcome and encourage you to reach out to me, our new NCSL liaison Holly South, or any of the other executive committee members with any questions you may have. I hope to see you in Atlanta later this year!

What's New

LINCS Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Kansas City

imageIn October, LINCS hosted its 20th annual professional development seminar in Kansas City, Mo. LINCS members benefited from a candid roundtable discussion with current and former political reporters, guided exercises on collaborative problem-solving and persuasive communications, and took a crash course in crisis communications. LINCSters also discussed the developing landscape of digital media and explored the ways in which legislatures are using new technologies to inform and engage constituents. Outgoing LINCS President Tim Bommel, Jane Andrade, Kathy Kiely and Rob StoddardSpecial guests included Kathy Kiely, the Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies at the University of Missouri, and NCSL’s very own Berkeley Teate and Curt Stedron, all of whom greatly enhanced discussions by sharing their unique insights and much-sought-after expertise. (Some rather mysterious penguins—residents of the 21c Museum Hotel—also made appearances during the PDS.) Those in attendance also enjoyed a presentation on marketing and communications strategy given by Mike Vietti, director of marketing, communications and guest services at the National World War One Museum & Memorial. LINCS would like to extend a very special thanks to the NCTA – The Internet & Television Association for sponsoring the welcome dinner at local barbecue fixture Arthur Bryant’s restaurant and to Rob Stoddard, its senior vice president of industry and association affairs, for his continued support. We would also like to thank the founders of the Arabia Steamboat Museum for giving us a personalized welcome before our self-guided tour. 

Resources from the meeting are available here.

In addition, a new slate of officers and directors was elected at the PDS in Kansas City and will guide LINCS programming this year. Meet your 2019-2020 Executive Committee

Thank You, Jane!

Jane Andrade, superstar NCSL liaison to LINCS for the past six years, has officially passed the torch to Holly South. But fear not! Jane will continue to be involved in LINCS programming in the coming year and always loves to hear from LINCSters.

NCSL Annual Legislative Summit Recap

Thousands of lawmakers and government professionals gathered in Nashville, Tenn., in August for NCSL’s annual Legislative Summit. In addition to LINCS sessions “Beyond the Newsletter” and “Sharpen your Social Media Savvy,” and the annual LINCS meetup at the Summit, attendees participated in lively panel discussions on a range of topics including education, taxation and cybersecurity, as well as topical sessions on subjects like women’s suffrage and redistricting. Among the year’s highlights was a bipartisan discussion on criminal justice reform moderated by CNN host Van Jones and featuring Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R). While we enjoyed robust conversations and left with key takeaways, attendees were at attention when the queen of Music City herself, Dolly Parton, showed everyone why her “Tennessee Mountain Home” is one of the greatest places in the American South. To relive some of the magic or see what you missed, visit @NCSLorg on Facebook.

LINCS Comms Shops: Issues & Info From Around the Country

Ever wonder how communications professionals in other states handle comms issues and functions? Welcome to the Comms Shop, a new resource on NCSL’s LINCS webpage! We’ve compiled research on legislative social media sites, media access and credentialing policies and more. We also share the responses to information requests on topics ranging from closed captioning to staff structures to Wikipedia editing. Check back often—we will keep this dynamic resource updated as new requests and information come in. For more information, contact Holly South

Let’s Talk Policy … and Podcasts

Our world is saturated with information and there are more outlets for news reporting and information-sharing than ever before. We can’t monitor everything, and we can’t be everywhere all the time, but thanks to podcasting, we don’t have to be! Stay up to date on political trends and follow the latest conversations with podcasts—they’re the future, and the “now,” of storytelling. For a chance to hear directly from policymakers and university professors about foreign affairs and timely topics, listen to "Policy on Purpose," produced by the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. To learn and about and hear from the incredible women who fill just 23% of roles in state and local governments, listen to "The 23% Podcast." Last but certainly not least, check out a couple of NCSL’s offerings: "Our American States" offers compelling conversations that tell the story of America’s state legislatures, the people in them, the politics that compel them, and the important work of democracy; and "Building Democracy: The Story of State Legislatures" is a new six-part series that, as part of "Our American States," covers the history, characters and stories of state legislatures in America, from the beginnings in Jamestown, Va., to the present day and into the future. Go ahead, press play!

Thinking about your own podcast? Have a look at NCSL's webinar highlighting the best practices of podcasting. (And check the complete webinar calendar and archive for professional development on demand.)

Hey, Neighbor! Communicating Inside the Legislature

While our ultimate goal is to inform and educate the public, there is often not enough talk about what happens on the inside. When you’re part of a team, internal communication is critical. For tips on how to keep internal communications fresh among employees, take a look at these five New Year’s resolutions for internal communicators as suggested by Interact. 

Once a Student, Always a Student—Grow Your Skills at These Conferences

Like every good legislative staffer, communications professionals are eager to learn, grow and hone their skills. However, in policy-driven environments, it can sometimes feel impossible to find ways to adequately strengthen the technical, digital or strategic communications muscles needed to effectively communicate in today’s world. If you can’t wait until our next PDS, or simply want to get a jump start on your professional resolutions this new year, consider registering for the National Association of Government Communications’ 2020 Communications School taking place in Louisville, Ky. in May. You can also click here for a noteworthy listing of 20 “not-to-miss” marketing and public relations conferences taking place throughout the globe all year long!

Suggestion Box

Have an idea for a future issue of The Voice? Want to contribute a short feature? Contact LINCS Secretary Emmanuel Brantley.