Communications Department Updates

For: Tribal Members
From: Michael Thompson, Communications Director

In the past few days, you may have noticed several job postings for the Communications Department.

They’re part of Tribal Council’s decisive actions to bring Tribal communications in-house.

For a long time, these functions have been outsourced to consultants and vendors. Bringing these functions in-house requires building a department.

“Communications” covers a lot of areas: the website, the Tribe’s social media accounts, news media relations, Tribal Announcements, and the Puyallup Tribal News, to name a few.

Fundamentally, they’re all about helping the Tribe tell its story.

Here’s what to expect:

Three new positions are open for applications now. Each one is open to anyone who meets the requirements and is up to a good challenge. Below are links and summaries from HR:

Communications Coordinator. (Closes July 10) This position is responsible for providing administrative support to Director and department staff. Position will assist Director with coordination of department duties, Tribal Newspaper, media relations, digital media, etc.

Content Manager. (Closes July 25) This position is responsible for researching, writing and editing communications content for the Puyallup Tribe. (Also serves as editor of Tribal Newspaper.)

Digital Media Manager. (Closes Aug. 23) This position is responsible for developing and executing digital media strategies. Position will manage the Tribe’s digital presence, manage social media, develop media campaigns, make recommendations on improving digital media, etc.

Later this summer, look for two more positions to be posted: Content Producer and Graphic Designer. They’ll help bring the paper fully in-house except for printing.

Council also approved funding for what I think of as “freelance,” a term from my newspaper days. “Freelancers” – “independent contractors” is the more formal term – write, take photos, and otherwise contribute to the newspaper and communications in general. If you have a talent for writing, are a good photographer or have other ways to contribute and are interested, please let me know. My email is michael.thompson (“at” symbol)

Other Developments
You may have noticed a few changes in communications already. Most Tribal Announcements are getting consolidated into one newsletter that goes out roughly once a week. The website has more content, including Tribal Council’s new mission and vision statements and more content on the online calendar. Thanks to everyone who helped make these things happen.

Council has expressed a desire for the Tribe to tell a positive story – about what it is, what it does, what it values, what impacts it has locally, in the region, and beyond. One way that’s being done is with news media, and another way is going to be with expanded storytelling through the website, publications, social media and other venues.

As people start filling the new positions, you can expect to see more: More forms you can download and print, more social media content, the ability of different departments to add their own content to the online calendar, more press releases, more online videos, different ways of helping the Tribe tell its story.

Some of these were brought up in last month’s all-staff meeting. I didn’t say much in that meeting, but I was taking several pages’ worth of notes.

Among other things, the department also will be looking at the next steps in website development, such as whether a members-only portal can be added (this one with IT and other departments), streamlining some processes and, most of all, helping the Tribe tell its story. We’ll develop some already-discussed ideas for involving youth and elders more in the newspaper and setting up a system of continuous feedback so we know whether it’s meeting members’ needs. No doubt we’ll find new ideas along the way.

Communications involves a lot of details, but the department’s focus fundamentally is this: to help the Tribe tell its story.

Like all great projects, this will be a group effort. Whether you apply for one of the open positions, contribute through freelancing or share your or your department’s stories with the Communications team’s writers, photographers and videographers, I hope you’ll be a part of it.