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To succeed in the field of public policy, it’s not enough for a practitioner to design sound, data-driven strategies. Successful public policy professionals also must convince others—elected officials, peer staffers and constituents—that their position is right, using communications to justify policy outcomes mathematically, economically and morally. In this lab-based course, students will work for a client, and, in small groups, simulate an policy office culture. Students will design and execute upon a strategic communications plan, write a speech and/or Op-Ed for a principal, draft a press release, draft policy briefs and create social media copy.

Students will also work on traditional media pitches, learning the basics of how to interact with reporters and then doing so with the support of the instructor, a veteran policy journalism and communications professional. The course will include conversations with outside communications experts based in Chicago and Washington D.C., as well as policy reporters based in both cities to better understand how to write in a way that breaks through with media. At the end of the quarter, the goal for each student in this class is to feel better prepared to enter the real world of public policy, emerging with written portfolio items and practical experience that can help them ace job interviews with potential employers, from public affairs consulting firms to members of the U.S. Congress.