Federal News Network embraces new ways of connecting with government officials via Zoom for Government
Zoom for Government has evolved the way Federal News Network connects with federal government executives, employees, and contractors.
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Industry: Media and entertainment
Challenges: Needing to enable a flexible workforce, conduct virtual interviews, and meet the federal government’s stringent security requirements
Solutions: Zoom Meetings
Business benefits: Expanded pool of interviewees, streamlined interview process, increased trust
By having Zoom for Government as the platform that we were offering invites on, we were able to deliver a safe feeling and enable people to overcome any obstacles in their way of saying yes to us.
Jeffrey WolinskyDirector of Federal Sales
For over 20 years, Federal News Network has focused on reporting news and information about and for the federal government’s top decision-makers and relevant service providers.
Tasked with leading Federal News Networks Sales and Custom Media operations, Jeffrey Wolinsky believes technology is unlocking new possibilities in government. He’s experienced it firsthand, as his organization’s use of Zoom for Government has evolved the way Federal News Network connects with federal government executives, employees, and contractors.
Compliance enables access
Federal News Network is always assessing how they can better engage newsmakers in the government. And for a while, trade shows, industry outings, and media events were the best way to do that. That was until the pandemic hit, eliminating the organization’s standard tactics for conducting interviews and arranging media opportunities. “We quickly needed to pivot to a place where multiple people could communicate at the same time… we were not prepared,” Wolinsky reflected.
This challenge was only compounded by the nature of Federal News Networks’ audience and frequent collaborators, as members of the federal government are required to use technology that adheres to certain security standards. “Many of our customers — both those that do business with the government and the government itself — have requirements around security. The connections need to be U.S.-based and meet certain cybersecurity criteria that have been established as industry standards for government. So we wanted to use something that met that criteria and took out any hesitation or risk for the people we were extending invites to,” Wolinsky said.
It wasn’t long before Federal News Network found Zoom. “Your team explained to us how Zoom for Government is FedRAMP-authorized,” Wolinsky noted.
Wolinsky knew that implementing Zoom for Government meant he could underpin interviews and outreach with a sense of trust and reliability. “By having Zoom for Government as the platform that we were offering invites on, we were able to deliver a safe feeling and enable people to overcome any obstacles in their way of saying yes to us.”
Expanding interview capabilities
“People started moving away during the pandemic — both in the industry and government — and they were not quickly going to come back to an in-person situation,” Wolinsky noted. “Previously, we would never reach out to anyone in California, for example, because we knew we couldn’t have them in person. But now, creating virtual engagements with Zoom, it has really expanded the universe of people we can talk to.”
Federal News Network’s recent cybersecurity event, Zero Trust Cyber Exchange, exemplified the scale that comes with implementing Zoom. As Wolinsky said, “We just did a massive three-day cybersecurity event, and the majority of government people that were interviewed would not have accepted our invitation to participate if it were in-person in the D.C. area. They only said ‘yes’ to us because we offered the virtual option for them to participate in a recording through Zoom. In addition to that, they were able to use their camera because we were on a government-approved platform.”
Not only has the virtual component expanded Federal News Network’s pool of interviewees, but it has also increased the number of interviews overall. “We can deliver far more content due to the digital format. We used to do two of these types of [interviews] a day, and now we can do four because we don’t have to rely on a physical room,” Wolinsky noted.
During the interview process, Federal News Network deploys a few key features to streamline the experience. These include:
- Cloud recording: “We record client conversations, look back at things, etc. We’ll record on our Zoom for Government account, and then take that recording to create an individual video or a produced piece that ends up as a webinar on our website.”
- In-meeting chat: “We use the chat function to share links with [an interviewee], where in the past you had to wait on email to send information. You share the link with an individual or everyone, and I find that people want to engage in the chat.”
- Screen sharing: “[From an interview perspective] in the past, I used to say to somebody, ‘share with me some of the work that you’ve done’ and they would email it after the fact. Now, they can pull it up instantaneously. Some things that used to take multiple steps now only take one.”
Zoom as a utility
While Wolinsky and his team prioritize agility when it comes to technology adoption, he knows the public sector may experience some growing pains during this time of change.
“You can’t ever go back to the way something was, you have to look forward to the way something can be — we are always in a changing world. Unless you understand that change is constant, you will get left behind,” Wolinsky reflected.
However, once people embrace change, Wolinsky believes they’ll soon realize the benefits of embracing virtual options.
As for Wolinsky himself, he has no doubt Zoom will continue to play an important role in the future of digital media and government largely due to its ease of use. He noted, “I want to use the thing that’s easiest for me to do my business. My primary business isn’t figuring out how to use a video conferencing platform, I’m in the business of connecting people.”
“I want something that is as easy as showing up and flipping on the light switch. So, the recommendation would be to use Zoom because it is a utility in the same way that the gas, water, and power companies are utilities. You want your technology to work like a utility because the business you’re doing shouldn’t be hindered or changed by the platform you’re choosing,” Wolinsky added.
Learn more about Zoom for Government here.