The National Press Club’s annual Communicators’ Summit always offers a thought-provoking forum that explores the art and science of effective public affairs and communications. With the integrity of journalism now under siege from a hostile administration, this year’s NPC summit – scheduled, eerily enough, on October 31, Halloween Day! – promises to be an especially timely and important examination of the latest developments in print, broadcast and online communications, and the role “the media” plays in American society.
This year’s NPC program spotlights prominent practitioners of crisis communications, including keynote Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary under President Bill Clinton. Other sessions will feature journalists and academics.
For my part, I’ll be kicking off the summit by keynoting a session on “Legally Speaking,” analyzing the repercussions of what happens when legal issues begin dominating client work or a certain issue. How do communicators protect themselves and their clients and/or institutions when often-arcane legal matters become all-encompassing?
So many of the biggest issues in our society and global economy – personal and business privacy, the omnipresence of social media, allegations of “fake news,” the back-and-forth surrounding Europe’s reliance on GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and what it means for U.S. companies – are riven by legal issues. Like it or not, communicators have a responsibility to address those legal issues – without letting them undermine or obscure a client’s messaging.
It will make for a fascinating discussion.