What Public Sector Media Wants in 2024

What stories are landing public sector headlines this year? 2023 saw plenty of discourse around implementing responsible and ethical technology modernization, and keeping up with the pace of innovation while ensuring citizen rights are protected. With Q1 2024 under our belts, we’re ready to take a look at what the public sector is excited to put on the front page.

At REQ, we’ve supported clients selling technology solutions to government customers for over 25 years, so we like to keep our finger on the pulse of what technologies the public sector is getting excited about and why. Last year we published an eBook, The 8 Technology Trends Government Agencies Care About the Most, detailing the top trending technologies the public sector is honing in on, from cybersecurity to AI to data management.

For all of the focus we saw on adopting disruptive tech innovations, one theme stood out among the VRs and LLMs - it was people. Specifically the citizen and government employee experience. Out of all of the technologies discussed, the common threads were:

  • Building trust in government
  • Creating more relevant and personalized experiences
  • Finding new ways to reach and service citizens
  • Giving government employees the best advantage possible (including warfighters)

If it’s not serving the citizen or government employee experience, the government doesn’t want it, and it turns out public sector reporters feel the same. REQ’s own Katie Hanusik, EVP of Public Relations, made it her mission last year to discern exactly what those reporters want when looking for B2G stories.

Between eBook insights, extensive reporter research, and an insightful panel on B2G Media Trends at the 2023 Mid-Atlantic MarCom Summit, hosted by Katie and featuring public sector journalists Frank Konkel and Molly Weisner, we’ve compiled our hot takes on what public sector media is looking for in 2024.

Quality Over Quantity

Overwhelmingly, public sector reporters are interested in quality over quantity. Good stories take precedence over the number of on-the-record quotes you’re able to provide. Off-record conversations can still produce quality content, especially if they’re providing a new POV on a topic.

“Work with us,” commented Molly Weisner. “We are very willing to be flexible about [on-the-record] terms in order to get good information that isn’t being regurgitated everywhere else. What we’re looking for is fresh perspectives and a level of detail that may have not been talked about yet.”

It’s not surprising that fresh takes on tech are on reporters’ wish lists, news gets old quickly, and it's important to differentiate from existing discourse if you want your stories covered. One contact from Federal News Network told Katie that their biggest issue with PR right now is being asked to talk to experts about a topic where there’s already an abundance of information. They, among other reporters, are looking for specifics - unusual or pointed tech use cases that may not be seen elsewhere, or the ability to cite government executives about a particular project or program.

But, in cases where specifics can’t be revealed, who you put in front of journalists can lend a new lens to a situation. Government reporters love a fresh perspective, especially if it’s from an inside source, making former government officials extremely valuable. A member of your workforce who used to be in government can provide an insider perspective on a technology issue and help connect the dots between an existing public sector problem and exactly how your technology solution is the best-in-class solution.

Impact on the Workforce

With trends focusing on the human experience, eyes are turning to the workforce and reporters want a comprehensive story on how people are being impacted by new technologies, especially in the post-pandemic landscape. When pitching your story, SME, or technology to public sector media, ask yourself:

  • Who is talking about workforce impact? “Sometimes people in the trenches make for the best interviews,” said Frank Konkel. “Leaders aren’t always involved in the day-to-day, so I like helping tell stories about people on the front lines being impacted by technology and getting stuff done in the government.” 
  • What jobs are being impacted by burgeoning technology? Are jobs being created? Lost? Is there a need to recruit new talent or upskill/reskill existing staff? 
  • Why is change needed? How do citizens feel about their interactions with government services? Where is the experience lacking? Beyond mandates and bills, how can agencies improve citizen and employee experience and how do they get there? 
  • When is technology being implemented? What are the timelines imposed by EOs and government mandates and how are agencies measuring up? Will your technology or POV help speed them along? Help them keep pace?
  • Where are people working? Are agencies bringing their workforces back to an in-person or hybrid model? Or are they leveraging and trusting technologies to keep workforces remote? 
  • How exactly will work change? AI and automation, whole-of-state cybersecurity, Zero-Trust, data consolidation and management, cloud modernization and application refactoring. All of these are big ideas, huge technological shifts, but what exactly do they mean for business, work, and the employee and citizen day-to-day?


Agencies may have 99 problems but some public sector reporters are tired of hearing about them from vendors. They want to know how you plan to change them, they want solutions.

An editor at a defense publication explained that many articles that cross his desk are 80% about the problem - they want to hear 5% about the problem and 95% focused on the solution. Assume your audience understands the problems and wants to know how your technology is going to overcome them.

Or, if you’re already solutioning, shout it from the rooftops! Everyone deserves to celebrate victories.

“The government doesn’t do a great job of tooting its own horn, even when things are going well,” explains Frank Konkel. “PR professionals can help us get in front of people who can talk to us about progress big and small.”

In Short

This year, same as any other year, it’s important for public relations and communications professionals to remember that while trends matter, you’re pitching your story to reporters - a.k.a. people. And it turns out, they want to talk about people.

Of course the ever evolving technology landscape matters, but keeping citizens, employees, and solutions in mind will be the key to hooking public sector headlines in 2024.

Read more about the tech trends government agencies care about in our eBook, and conquer public sector comms in just 13 steps with our PR checklist

Let’s talk.