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Shortage of Communications Specialists is One of the Reasons for the Worsening of Relations between the State and the Media

03 October 2017
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Journalists argue that they often receive formal or delayed responses from state institutions, while communicators, in their turn, say they are unable to provide the requested information in time due to the lack of relevant professionals. Public authorities should recruit more communicators in order to facilitate the provision of information requested by the media – this is the conclusion of participants in the workshop titled “Challenges and Solutions in Communication between Public Authorities and the Media. Information Security and the Role of Non-Traditional Communicators in the Era of New Technologies,” which was held in Chisinau on October 2 and 3.

One of the experts invited to the workshop, American Professor Joseph Watson, an expert in communication, advertising and public relations, presented to the audience – mainly reporters and communicators – various methods of improving relations between official communicators and representatives of the media. He invited communicators to personalize their relations with journalists, organizing periodic informal meetings with the press. “Invite journalists for a coffee and just talk to them, without any agenda,” recommended Joseph Watson among other things.
 
Artur Sirbu, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, admitted that the Ministry does not have enough communicators, including in order to deal with the heavy flow of requests from the media. “We have one or two persons in charge of communication.” According to Sirbu, the reduction of the number of ministries from 16 to 9 will affect communications services. 
 
According to Alina Zbanca, Interim Head of the of Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the quality of relations between communicators and the media depends on the attitude of the head of the institution they represent: “If he supports open communication with the media and civil society, then his communicator or communication adviser communicates with journalists more easily,” said Zbanca.
 
The IPN News Agency Director Valeriu Vasilica mentioned at the workshop that a solution to facilitate relations between the media and state institutions might be increasing the number of communicators, given the large amount of their tasks, because “they are very busy now and will be even more busy.” IPN Director recommended to communicators to be more responsive, since “answers to queries from journalists often come with undue delay and some of them lose their relevance.”
 
The event was organized by the Association for Development and Cooperation in Moldova in partnership with the Cox International Center of the University of Georgia, USA.