In an age where traditional media sources of the “Fourth Estate” no longer have the exclusive on information access, advocacy communications has become its own unique platform for developing and distributing content — a Fifth Estate that sometimes complements, sometimes complicates, and sometimes replaces the conventional role of the press in our society. We cut through the noise — everything we do is a means toward an end that your organization is driving toward. We’re here to:

  • Listen to your needs and build a unique strategy tailored to meet a mutually defined set of goals. We get what you’re trying to do. And why.
  • Clearly and consistently communicate the opportunities and risks inherent in any tactic we consider pursuing, so that you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.
  • Do what we say we’re going to do. We meet deadlines, stick to budgets, honestly assess the landscape of possibilities, and always do our level best to deliver.


Scott Ward

Scott has more than 30 years of professional experience in all aspects of communications, including strategic planning; quantitative and qualitative research; communications training; advocacy communications; stakeholder outreach; graphic design and desktop publishing; writing and editing; risk and crisis communications; national, regional and local media relations; message development and testing; event planning and marketing; and media buying. Scott is frequently called upon to provide staff- and executive-level trainings, sit on panels, run workshops and conduct organizational capacity-building exercises. He is the founder of Fifth Estate Communications, and has taught professional-level and undergraduate courses at American University.

Melissa Smith Nilles

Melissa is a versatile communications professional with a decade of experience in agencies, government, politics and management. She began her career in Edelman’s healthcare practice, working on policy reports, events, materials and media outreach for a range of clients. She has consulted for M+R Strategic Services, specializing in non-profit, mission-oriented organizations, and Arc Capital Development, an education venture capital fund. She has also served as communications director for a top-tier U.S. Congressional race and as a chief of staff and office manager in the Hawaii State House of Representatives. Most recently, Melissa worked in management for Navy Federal Credit Union branches in Japan and Hawaii. She holds a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism from Beloit College, and a M.A. in political management from George Washington University.

Courtney Sexton

Courtney is an accomplished writer, editor and content curator with more than 10 years of experience in advocacy public relations, communications and outreach; print and digital journalism; and documentary production. Courtney is a AAAS Mass Media Fellow (2020), and has spearheaded several science communication efforts within and beyond the academic setting. As both a researcher and a communicator, she has worked on-staff and consulted for a diverse portfolio of progressive organizations and agencies. Courtney is also the Co-founder and Director of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit literary organization, The Inner Loop, Inc., where she co-produces a biweekly podcast, coordinates outreach events, and leads local community arts engagement efforts. 


Double R Productions

Founded in 1987, Double R Productions is a full-service, woman-owned communications firm, specializing in television and video production. For nearly 35 years, Double R has provided film, video and television services, original broadcast programming, state-of-the-art post-production and graphics services, as well as presentation training and coaching.

Modern Media

Modern Media is a partnership of problem-solving graphic designers. Full service creative or design/production support – we make it easy to work with us. Communication teams of all kinds count on us – coalitions, foundations, PR firms and corporations. We know it’s hard work to get your message out there. We’re here to make it easier. Get in touch and let’s get your story told.