VA blog opens dialogue with vets

'Vantage Point' blog off to a busy start

The Veterans Affairs Department has jumped into the blogosphere with its first official blog, "Vantage Point," which has gotten nearly 200 comments since it debuted Nov. 5.

“Today the department marks a new effort to reach across the great divide that has separated VA and veterans for so long,” reads the first entry.

The VA’s blog includes a main column written by VA Staff Writer Alex Horton and Lauren Bailey, special assistant to VA Chief Technology Officer Peter Levin. It also will have guest columns.


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Guest columns will be solicited from a number of VA stakeholders, including VA physicians and students going to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the department said.

“All pieces will be considered for publication based on their rationale and reasoned points — not on how closely their views align with those of the department,” the VA said.

"Vantage Point" is edited by Brandon Friedman, director of new media for the VA since 2009. He is a veteran, author and former vice chairman of VoteVets.org, an organization that encourages veterans to run for public office.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said the blog is intended to expand the VA’s outreach by encouraging two-way communication and comments from readers.

“This tool will allow us to interact with veterans, their families, and the public in ways we’ve never done before,” Shinseki said. “Instead of waiting for veterans to find us, we’re going to seek them out where they already are — which is, increasingly, online.”

The VA created an Office of New Media in late 2009. In addition to the blog, the department has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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