Below are all the job titles of all the comms staff in the BC Government Communications and Public Engagement bodies as of last week. Count with me! :)
There are 278 people!
278. That’s more than a few. The records include folks in these two areas:
Government Communications: which tends to the day-to-day communications
functions, including strategic communications, media relations and issues management; and
Strategic Initiatives Division: which largely consists of technical experts who provide
corporate online and data services to government.
But don’t take my word for it; count for yourself. I might be off by a few. My eyes get a bit blurry counting them all.
This part is very curious:
There are over 15 online editors in the “Media Monitoring Services” section alone. With two more online editors in the mega-gravity well, International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism/Intergovernment Relations Secretariat.
But 278, really? Really?
- Is that high or low compared to other provinces/states?
- What are their job descriptions?
- Do they troll in Twitter, Facebook, the comments section at the CBC and other websites?
- How many sock puppets do they each manage, if any?
- Or do they just clip newspaper articles and count hashtag usage, and benignly report the data to the ministerial staff?
- Do they do partisan work for the BC Liberal Party, or do they do work only on BC government programs?
- Why are Agriculture and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation so devoid of comms staff compared to all other ministries? I can guess. I bet you can too.
- If you could FOI, say, 5 job descriptions, which ones would you choose? [Me: online editor, public affairs officer, media monitoring assistant, and I'm still pondering two more.]
- Can you think of how to craft an FOI request to determine how much work various of the 278 staffers do that is for government versus for the political party in charge? Because they’ve had a blurring line problem in the past.
Granted, many of these positions are necessary just for government to function. But 278?
278? Say it with me. 278.
And that includes at least one comms director and one comms manager and generally at least 2 public affairs officers for each ministry. Are they really pumping out that much content and fielding that many requests from media? Remember, there are far fewer journalists in BC bopping around asking questions than there used to be before the great corporate media consolidation/purges!
But it turns out, there are only 4-5 news releases each day coming out of all of government. And while comms does far more than just pump out news releases, I wonder whether they might be a bit, you know, overstaffed?
So. here is the list of comms positions. Enjoy!