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This assessment has two parts: 1) Report and 2) Briefing Note on related aspects of the same topic.
Students are asked to conduct an investigation into a contested public issue of their choice that affects policy development and discuss the public opinion and debate that may affect the trajectory of the issue to inform a future public affairs and media strategy.
The Major Project must include details of the issue, and public debate of the issue, are based upon: desk research, media content analysis and discipline-specific research (i.e. reference to the unit content).
This task involves students’ development of two outputs (see above) which have two different professional communications contexts and audiences. In addition, it enables students to demonstrate their critical and analytical skills, as well as their professional competencies in communicating a complex public affairs issue that is affected or influenced by public opinion.
Both the report and briefing note will equip you with the tools to prepare a variety of communication modes utilised in professional practices and tailored for different audiences.
Part A: Report: 2000 words
You work for a consultancy called ‘Livewire Public Affairs’.
Livewire has a reputation for intelligent and successful research-driven campaigns. They have experience in providing effective political communication strategies around issue management for a variety of high profile clients in government, peak bodies, lobbyists, grassroots community groups and other stakeholders. Livewire has 30 public affairs consultants who are renowned for their knowledge, analytic skill and tenacity in managing difficult issues and media relations for clients. They are able to identify what will become ‘hot topics’ and anticipate what will shape public opinion and influence debate and policy development. Their motto is: In full command of the facts.
In anticipation that it may be required to respond quickly to clients, your manager at Livewire has requested that you write a general report on a contested public issue. Its purpose is to provide insight into the current public debate surrounding the issue and its likely trajectory in affecting policy development. Your work may be used to inform a future client public affairs and media strategy.
You will therefore select a contested public issue that will possibly affect future policy development. Examples are:
In researching and writing the report you will identify key issues and social actors in the debate such as NGOs, peak industry bodies, lobby groups, key media sources, politicians, political parties and influential media commentators.
Your work will include the research of public opinion around the issue, including dominant positions evident in a time bounded period of heightened media activity. This could be achieved a key words search e.g. in search engines such as Google and publicly available sources of social media (Twitter and Facebook).
This investigation will also be analysed in the context of disciplinary research (ALR782 unit content Study Guide and Readings).
The Livewire report will be comprised of an executive summary, in addition to the full report which will: outline the issue, provide research-based evidence of public opinion, a discussion of the key actors and positions influencing the debate, an analysis of the appetite of government in relation to the issue, and a forecast of key trends of the issue.
The Livewire report must contain these sections:
1. Executive Summary (short overview of report and its findings. Approx. 200 words)
2. Background/Context (situation analysis of issue, the public debate and its significance to policy development. Approx 400 words)
3. Media Content Analysis Statement (Description of research methods e.g. how, what, and period under review. Approx. 200 words)
4. Findings: Issue positions (e.g. dominant media themes at play), actors and organisations influencing public opinion formation (e.g. NGOs, peak industry bodies or lobby groups and their donors, funding sources, affiliations. Approx. 400 words).
5. Discussion: Analysis of your finding’s significance in relation to government action. Approx 300 words)
6. Forecast of key trends of the issue in public debate and policy formation (Approx. 300 words)
7. References (Harvard style, include only sources that you quote from)
8. Appendices (optional: only append highly relevant source material)
See this link to assist you in report writing:
Business Report Writing Guide
Part B: Briefing Note: 500 words
Adopt a position of one of the NGOs, peak industry bodies or lobby groups that the Livewire report identified. Now prepare a 1-2 page briefing note for that organisation’s management team advising them of the key issues and upcoming trends in relation to promoting their particular cause.
The Briefing Note must contain these headings:
1. Audience – state the organisation name.
3. Purpose statement
4. Background summary
5. Current status of key issues
8. Your name and contact details
For more help please see these links:
Writing for results
Writing Briefing Notes
Developing a Briefing Note
Examples: 1) Briefing Note example2) Briefing Note example3) Briefing Note example
N.B. these are representative only and may vary from our assignment instructions
AT3 assessment details:
Word limit: 2,500 (+/- 10% max)
Weighting: 50% of unit mark
Due date: Friday, 29 May, 11.59 (AEST)
Submission: CloudDeakin > Assessments > Assignments > Major Project
NB: Deakin late policy applies – see ‘Rights and Responsibilities as a Student’
• Use the Harvard referencing style
• Write your name/student number in the document footer
• Insert page numbers
• Use 2.5 cm document margins
?• Use 1.5 or 2 line spacing
• Use 10 or 12 point font (Arial or Times Roman)
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