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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

When Government Works, Does Anyone Notice?

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The "government can't get anything done" story line has become so pervasive that you'd think any time an agency did tackle a significant problem, it would be the kind of "dog bites man" story that would garner a fair amount of public attention.

In reality, that's rarely the case. Take this example: Last year, 267 types of  drugs were listed as in dangerously short supply. Then the Food and Drug Administration stepped in, and now the number of shortages has dropped by about a third. New FDA rules requiring drug makers to notify the agency of looming supply problems are the primary reason for the drop, NBC News reports.

With such reports in hand, the FDA can take a range of actions, from working with drug manufacturers to address ongoing issues to importing drugs from foreign suppliers. The agency has embarked on a long-term plan to prevent drug shortages in the future.

It's unlikely, though, that you'll see a story like this garner as much attention in the national media as, say, a federal agency's conference spending scandal.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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