NEWS

DHS Continues Its PR Makeover

By Matthew Harwood

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security launched "The Blog" to pump out information about the department and give citizens the ability to talk back to its officials.

Yesterday, it continued its public relations makeover by relaunching its Web site and creating a YouTube channel to "increase transparency and provide accurate, up-to-date information to the public."

With the Web site relaunch and the creation of the YouTube channel, DHS "became the first Cabinet-level agency to follow the tech-savvy White House directives on social media," reports the Associated Press.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano touted her department's embrace of social media in a statement.

“Social media plays an increasingly large role in our engagement with the public, especially in the event of an incident or disaster,” the statement said. “These new tools will facilitate an open dialogue about the Department’s security efforts across the nation and around the world.”

DHS.gov's relaunch shows a Web site organized around Napolitano's five core responsibilities—counterterrorism, border security, enforcement of immigration laws, disaster preparedness and response and Department unification—and designed to make it easier for citizens to quickly find the information they're looking for.

Readers who visit the DHS channel on YouTube will find various videos that DHS explains will "keep our nation secure, protect the border, build a culture of readiness, enforce our immigration laws, and unify our department." The first video that greets visitors shows a family discussing their emergency plan.

DHS, according to the AP, also plans to use its Twitter account to broadcast critical information during an emergency.


♦ Screenshot of DHS.gov, courtesy of The Department of Homeland Security

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