A Day in the Life of a Publications Officer

This is part of our series profiling CIA officers working in occupations not commonly associated with the Agency. We talk with them about their daily challenges and rewards, as well as some exceptional moments. We recently spoke with “Lynn,” a former schoolteacher who uses her keen eye for editing to help create the intelligence publications read by policymakers, including the President’s Daily Brief.

Lynn, Publications Officer, three years with CIA

Publications Officer is our fancy name for an editor. My job is to make sure that our intelligence products are reflective of CIA style and branding guidelines, properly classified and sourced, free of grammatical errors, and easily readable for non-experts. Our “customers”—policymakers, intelligence and military officers, diplomats, and their staffs and briefers—are incredibly busy people. It’s important that they quickly understand the bottom line and implications of the intelligence pieces they read every day.

I also serve as the project manager for each intelligence product that I edit. I make sure that publishing deadlines are met, work with graphic designers and cartographers to edit and finalize visuals, and help disseminate the products to briefers and the wider Intelligence Community.

I’m a mid-career hire. I spent several years teaching English in a public school before joining the Agency. I was lucky to know someone who worked in the Intelligence Community and pointed me toward this path because I didn’t even know that CIA had editors! As a former teacher, I’m able to use not only my knowledge of grammar for editing but my organizational and project management skills to juggle the many products that I’m working on simultaneously.

Opportunities at CIA are endless. I can take professional development courses internally or even attend public workshops and conferences. We’re encouraged to do rotations to other parts of the Agency to grow our institutional knowledge and skills. I’m even involved with groups that promote diversity, inclusion, and charitable events.

But the most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I’m partnered with incredibly knowledgeable people. Together we convey clear and concise intelligence that helps our customers make decisions that can affect real changes in the world.

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