J500 Media and the Environment

I’m Not a Journalist Yet! by shawng
October 29, 2008, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics, Society + Media | Tags: , , , , ,


In this class, I kind of feel like we’re journalists…for a time.  Wikipedia defines “journalist” as a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues, and people while striving for non-bias viewpoint.  This is striking as it relates to our field work and subsequent work with CEP.  We are gathering and disseminating information while striving to communicate authentically.  Maybe like this?

 With our field work we hoped to find out what makes policymakers tick. We confirmed a lot of our suspicions.  As the old saying goes, “Opinions are like a$$h….s, everyone’s got one.”  Well, policymakers are no exception.  And their opinions run the gamut.


I interviewed a Holcomb area policymaker while Brooke and Hilary interviewed KC area policymakers.  We interviewed both Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and city, county and state policymakers.  I’d say we got a good sampling!  I can summarize our findings in three words….”night and day.”


With the upcoming election, we’ve seen policymakers can be opinionated to the point of being unconceivable; just like some people on climate change.  The dichotomy of opinion has made me realize one thing…..that we can only solve these environmental and energy issues by crossing party, race, income, and other lines and meeting in the middle. Because, if you can’t convince them, then you’ve got to compromise to accomplish anything.


Doing this field work was a good experience.  I learned a lot.  As far as becoming a real journalist…well, I should probably stick to engineering or maybe a citizen journalism.



4 Comments so far
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I can only imagine the range of reactions you all got from the policymakers. In one of my planning classes right now we are learning the art of negotiation and how important it is for people to recognize that they have shared interests. Did you notice any shared interests in your interviews? If a citizen journalist can get two “opposing” policymakers to see they share a link (say, bringing economic growth to Kansas), think you can get them to negotiate?

Comment by susang09

You’ve raised some great points. In spite of what people might otherwise think, I believe there is more common ground and shared interests between the two major political parties. What I’ve seen is that the order of priority of these shared interests is different from one political party to the other. Unfortunately, as we’ve often seen in the past with a closely divided government and a closely divided nation, gridlock often takes over and nothing gets done. Then, no one gets as much of what they want as they might otherwise get if they just compromised (i.e. negotiated). I don’t think one person alone can get them to negotiate, but collectively, the people are strong. The first challenge is getting these people to also set aside their differences and come together to collectively hold the policymakers accountable. If we can do this, then I think the policymakers will fall into line because they know if they don’t, they’ll be looking for a new career in the near future.

By the way, my favorite book on negotiation is called Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Fisher, Patton, and Ury.

Comment by shawng

Ok, that’s great! I’m in the process of reading “Getting to Yes” and was going to reference it in my comment. LOL!

Comment by susang09

Great insights. There is no movement without all of us – and the toughest nuts to crack are policymakers because of the mercurial nature of garnering votes. A compelling part of reaching politicians is helping them understand how they are supporting and promoting their base.

Comment by j500

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