Last year, people all over the world learned about the National Security Agency's (NSA) data collection capabilities. Some were concerned about the NSA's actions, while others supported its claim that it protects the country from "identify threats, shorten[s] wars, save[s] lives and prevent[s] conflicts," one of the leaflets read.
Earlier this month, the agency mailed out a media kit to multiple news organizations. While it is unclear exactly how many were sent out, the Post-Standard in central New York and Mashable, a digital innovation blog confirmed they received the package.
"It was so unusual, I thought it was a joke," Mashable Editor-at-Large Lance Ulanoff told one of its contributors.
Often times, government agencies are pretty mum about their operations, but after former contractor Edward Snowden published presentations he obtained from the agency's databases, the NSA decided to embrace the spotlight. Recently, the NSA has invited journalists to visit its headquarters while deputy director John Inglis spoke to a large audience at a TED conference, Mashable reported.
It appears that the NSA's media kit was intended to "inform your national security beat reporter" about the NSA's mission and perhaps "enhance awareness of the NSA's role in defending the nation." The NSA's media package included multiple handouts, incorporating graphics like the U.S. Constitution.
This marketing approach may seem unusual to some, but it can actually be beneficial to any organization. Businesses that have high-quality presentation materials seen more credible. These pamphlets, brochures and other print materials can be repurposed to be a part of an upcoming trade show display graphic.
Having this information readily available for people passing by its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland or other government events shows that the NSA is trying to be transparent with the American public.