For this short (maximum 4 pages) paper, students will analyze the public opinion environment for their chosen organizations, using the readings and class discussions to bolster their arguments.Subject organizations may include: companies, trade associations, non-profit organizations, other institutions (including universities), hospitals, clubs and community groups, individual offices or programs within government agencies or departments, or legislative committees or city councils. Individual politicians, political candidates, campaigns, and party organizations are not allowed.
While more than one student will be allowed to work in a specific arena, no duplication of specific research subjects will be allowed. For example, if several students want to pick an energy/environment research subject, no two students can choose the same office or program within BP, Exxon-Mobil, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Sierra Club, or a particular utility company.
For the paper you will analyze and critique the public opinion environment of the organization you’ve chosen as follows:
Who are the major players in your organization’s public opinion environment including allies, competitors, navigators, connectors or others? Where does your organization stand in its field? (5 pts)
What are the major issues or themes in that environment? What themes receive the most attention (coverage) in the traditional media and online? Why? (5 pts)
How are current events (including the economy, the ups and down of the Obama administration, etc.) affecting your organization and its opinion environment? Are the organization’s key issues gaining in importance? Losing urgency? Is this good or bad, and why? (5 pts)
Finally, what insights do our readings (and guest speakers, polls or breaking news) offer us about the issue environment? Do the readings tell us how the public might regard these issues or how to evaluate the public’s reaction? Do the readings suggest how your organization might influence the public debate? Other insights? (5 pts)
(Note that this section is worth twice the points of the earlier sections, so it ought to receive more attention.)
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