This course explores how to effectively, professionally, and creatively communicate about policy issues, using a diverse range of tools. The course is required for all MGPS students. We begin by practicing fundamentals of good writing: clarity, concision, persuasiveness, use of evidence, and audience awareness. We then turn to exploring -- and practicing -- the different writing/communication products that policy professionals use, both within their organizations and externally. These products include briefing and decision memos, cables, intelligence analysis, press releases, talking points, speechwriting, social media content, television, think tank reports, op-eds, and Congressional testimony. You will engage in peer review and have the opportunity to revise several of your assignments.
Course meetings are typically broken up into three segments. First, we debrief the previous week’s assignment, identifying challenges and sharing tools for addressing those challenges. Second, we discuss the readings on the type of writing that students will be expected to produce in the following week, using a combination of discussion and in-class activities. Third, in many (but not all) weeks, we will have a guest speaker who is an expert on that particular form of writing/communication. Each member of the class will be responsible for introducing our speaker and preparing 1-2 initial questions to ask them.
Readings are relatively light, because you are expected to spend extra time drafting, revising, and editing your assignments. Some assignments will involve time constraints, to simulate a policy environment.