Chapter 7, Public Affairs and Government Relations


Public Affairs and Government Relations

Overview of chapter

Public Affairs
Government  public relations specialist are usually called public affairs officers in the United States, and information officers in other countries.

Goals of public affairs in government

  1.  Informing constituents about the actives of a government agency.
  2. Ensuring active cooperation in government programs
  3. Fostering citizen support for established policies and programs
  4. Serving as the public’s advocate to government officials
  5. Managing information internally
  6. Facilitating media relations
  7. Building community and nation

Research  for public affairs concentrates on problem assessment  through issues management and identify and understanding audiences.

Usually legislative or executive branches of governments.

Usually the information about government officials is voting records, accomplishments public stands on issues.

Impact objectives

Usually about providing the target audience with information or influencing attitudes or behaviors, likely voting behaviors.

Output objectives
Usually have a specific or desired impact, but likely not referenced in the communication, but a record is keep.


Fact-finding, coalition building, direct lobbying, grassroots lobbying(indirect lobbying), political education, communications on political issues and political support activities.

Uncontrolled media and Controlled media
The public affairs officers usually communicate with public officials direct and interpersonal.

Lobbyist usually used uncontrolled media at grassroots level working with media place news stories to gain favorable placement and outcome.  Controlled forms of communication, such as news releases are often used.  Interpersonal communication is the most effective, especially in person communication.

Evaluation for public affairs is not the same as other forms of public relations.

Media exposure or placement does not with legislators and officials, not responsive to PR surveys.

Impact objectives
The primary audience for public affairs are legislators and officials.
The media are used for reaching the constituents of the public officials.
Message exposure usually means constituent exposure.

Surveys usually don’t work, making it important to have non-quantitative measure of message exposure.

Output objectives
Measured by observation and quantification

Ultimate measure is the voting behavior of the target audience