MPPL 611: Understanding and Leading Public Opinion
*This is the current rate and may be subject to change annually.
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MPPL 612: The 21st Century Communicator: Strategies for Web, Video, and Social Media
Modern, large-scale, democracy has come to depend on public opinion as a substitute for citizen deliberation. The term “public opinion” has many overlapping meanings and ranges from claims about majority opinions to the expression of values collectively held and publicly expressed to an almost mystical claim about some abstract personification of the national self. The course will examine the competing views of the nature and definition of the public. From there it will turn attention to contemporary concerns about how public opinion is formed, by whom, and with what consequences.
The course will examine political rhetoric, classic and modern, as well as the way powerful people and institutions shape narratives and messages. This course is ultimately centered around a problem about the competence of democratic institutions to foster a meaningful, informed, and open conversation about public matters and how effective leaders navigate this process.
MPPL 613: Principles for Political and Policy Communications
Media and culture have been fueling public discourse and igniting social change for millennia, but in the hyper-connected 21st Century, moving an issue from the margins to the center of the public square can happen in an instant. This "new normal" of media that creates impact is changing culture and influencing policy at a rate never seen before. This cultural development has created an environment where audiences are coming to expect something more from the media they ingest and the policy that shapes their lives.
The course will investigate the emerging new media and advocacy landscape while also examining the artists, advocates, philanthropists, strategists, and evaluators who have emerged to service this cultural evolution. The course will better understand this changing media and impact landscape and become familiar with the industry and specialized skills needed to succeed in it.
MPPL 614: Corporate Communications: Advocating, Lobbying, and Negotiating
This course focuses on how successful political and policy operatives of both parties develop, target, and deliver a message to constituencies. It will explore the full range of messaging campaigns, from the practicalities of campaign politics to strategy and messaging. Topics will include the means by which a campaign develops its message, how that message is communicated through the news media, paid advertising, and online communications, as well as the broader strategic and tactical questions, which guide a campaign’s operations. It will also examine the broader context of the American political system: its strengths and weaknesses, the relationship between politicians, and the voters and the influence of the news media on the political and policy processes.
Social media and the internet have completely redefined how organizations connect with the public and the world around them. Public relations and communications have come a long way since the early 1990s when there was a legitimate debate on whether an entity should even have a website or web presence. Private sector actors—and especially modern corporations—have led the way in this evolution of communications and messaging.
The course will examine not only the history of this changing landscape but also explore the practices in the private sector today that are redefining how individuals, community organizations, activist groups, political action committees, and specialized interest groups connect with the public, each other, and government leaders. The course will shine a light on the lobbying and advocacy sectors and explore how their strategies and contemporary practices are both defining and redefining the choices our public officials are making.