Public Policy: Out with the Old, In with the New


The ability to measure how effective public policy journalism on everyday people is now a reality. The Knight Foundation recently funded “Reframe It,” a San Francisco-based tech company that measures effective journalists reporting on public policy that is geared towards help people learn about the specific topic.

The Knight Foundation spent over $165,000 to test the Reframe It model. On the contrary, the Knight Foundation shared results with other news organizations and the general public. The Knight Foundation even partnered with tech companies, such as TechCrunch and the Center for Greater Good and Technology News. 

So, how exactly does one test the effectiveness of journalist reporting on public policy? The Reframe It model uses Deliberative Polling and patented technology to find out what individuals think about an issue when presented with balanced formation and a chance to discuss the issue. Reframe It aims to use Deliberative Polling which involves questioning a random sample of people about their opinions on a particular public policy topic.

From there, the sample will be discussed by a small group of experts and then by the experts as a whole. The group sample will then be asked the original set of questions. This is done because a comparison can be conducted on the before and after results, which leads researches to discover the best information tools for a particular audience.

 According to Michael Maness, the Knight Foundation Vice President of Journalism and Media, “journalists all over the world cover policy and legislation on a variety of topics and in a variety of communities. However, not much is known about the impact of that reporting and what it means about people’s preferences or their grasp of the topic at hand.” 

This brings me to my next point, which is what else can we do to improve public policy perception for average Americans? Are there other ways to test the effectiveness of public policy journalism rather than just conducting some survey research? As an individual who enjoys many different aspects of politics I feel that Knight Foundation has truly opened the doors to something new.


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