Episode 68 – The Art of Communicating Bad News in Government or Public Sector


Climate action, the cost-of-living crisis, food security, war, the great resignation, a looming recession, pandemics, divisive national politics – whatever your bad news, you’ve no choice but to communicate it. 

But how well you do it will be the difference between a sustained public backlash or general public buy-in. 

With the citizen expecting timely truths and demanding transparency in decision-making, the question I’m posing in this episode is, ‘are you a competent digital storyteller and a responsible guardian of the public interest?’ 

Bad news sucks. But bad news spreads faster than anything else online, and even if you’re not the author, you’ll have to at some stage take up your position as protagonist.

So, what’s it going to be? 

Bury bad news? 


Build trust with openness? 

Coming up in the show:

  • > Why the authentic voice of your organisation will win public trust
  • > Facing up to going front of screen in the age of transparency 
  • > I speak to Jim McNamara who’s says that fail to listen, prepare to fail when it comes to government and public sector communications


Column | Why Communicating Bad News Well Will Increase Trust?

Don’t miss the opportunity to communicate well when delivering bad news. This shows leadership and really builds rapport with your citizens, after all, you have their attention because of the bad news announcement.

Consulting | Facing Up to Going Front of Screen in the Age of Transparency

Facing up to your problems is something we learn as children. Facing up to your citizens online is a new piece of advice for those in public sector, political and government leadership. In this week’s column I outline why it is so important.

Interview with Jim McNamara

Jim McNamara is a Professor of Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). He started his career in journalism with an undergraduate degree in journalism and literature and studied creative writing at UTS. During a decade working in media research he completed a Master of Arts by Research and a PhD in media research. He has published 16 professional and academic books and more than 70 academic journal articles and book chapters.

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Thank You for Listening!

Thank you for tuning into episode #67 to find out News V Narrative in Digital Communications.  If you are a regular listener, please rate and review our show.

Don’t forget to get in touch with your questions. I love hearing from my listeners, don’t be a social media stranger. Tweet me at @JSTweetsDigital

If you would like to be a guest on the show, please get in touch. Email Joanne at [email protected].

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to The Public Sector Marketing Show or your preferred podcast platform.


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