Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service and seven years in the private sector.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy. Read More

Tackling Fake News, One Infomercial at a Time

A State Department video caught my eye today.  “How to spot disinformation” gives five tips to recognize disinformation in one’s news feed.  The video fleshes out each of the tips, which are: Identify the sources Look beyond the headline Recognize satire Check the references Consider your own bias The International Information Programs Bureau has produced…

Thilivhali Ratshitanga, a political counsellor at the Embassy of South Africa in Washington D.C. listens to a panel speak about Nelson Mandela.

Celebrating the Life and Lasting Legacy of Global Citizen: Nelson Mandela

The First Monday Forum on July 2018: Nelson Mandela Centennial, featured a panel of speakers: Dr. Bob Wekesa from the department of journalism and mass studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Ron Nixon, the Homeland Security correspondent for The New York Times and author of, Selling Apartheid: South Africa’s Global Propaganda…

Folded newspaper section "China Watch"

Sharp Power Focus on China

Dr. Michael Schneider, the director of Syracuse University’s D.C. Public Diplomacy program, calls our attention to an update on the topic of China’s “sharp power” thrust. The Journal of Democracy carries a set of eight articles on “China in Xi’s new era” examining the country’s internal changes in the wake of the 19th Party Congress, its expanding global ambitions, and its…

Soft Power and Hard Targets

Occasionally I co-lead a strategy workshop for State Department practitioners of public diplomacy.  Each participant brings a topic and develops it into a public diplomacy campaign over five days; it’s learning by doing. The hardest thing for our students – both Foreign Service Officers and locally-hired staffers – is to define a clear objective and…

Labels and sharp power

Last week I spoke to a Great Decisions discussion group in Arlington, Virginia.  Great Decisions is a program sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association to encourage citizen awareness of foreign relations. The topic, “The Media and Foreign Policy,” gave me the chance to highlight the work of public diplomacy.  As so much diplomacy is carried…