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> ABOUTEmphasizing the 'Public' in Public Affairs

"Emphasizing the 'Public' in Public Affairs" is a grant-funded initiative at the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs to infuse a traditional academic institution with the new media tools of "Web 2.0."

Proposed and led by Humphrey graduate student Graham Lampa, the project has partnered with multiple Humphrey research centers to leverage the University's UThink blogging system to develop a bottom-up public outreach network.

The project was funded by a Service and Process Improvement Fund grant from the University of Minnesota's Office of Service and Continuous Improvement.

Implementing a bottom-up, blog-centric new media strategy at an institution of public policy

As part of completing his Master of Public Policy degree, Lampa wrote a paper detailing the development and implementation of the Humphrey blogging initiative from theoretical, practical, and evaluative standpoints.

The paper is made publicly available here and is open for citation and attribution. It is licensed for use, modification, and further publication under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Download PDF (Approx. 5mb)

ABSTRACT
As a college tasked with considering issues of public interest within a land-grant institution of higher learning, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota is doubly obligated to connect the academic work going on within its walls to the wider community and to hold itself accountable to the public. In an attempt to assist the Institute in more efficiently and effectively fulfilling this obligation, Master of Public Policy candidate Graham Lampa proposed, secured funding for, and implemented an initiative to equip Humphrey research centers and other sub-units of the Institute with weblogs to enable faculty, fellows, staff, and students to self-publicize their work. The ultimate aim of the project is to increase the visibility and notoriety of the Humphrey Institute among its cohort institutions, within the mainstream media, and with the public at large. Drawing on public sphere theory and field theory, this paper 1) examines the theoretical underpinnings of using a decentralized new media strategy for the purposes of publicization, 2) considers the practical challenges of implementing institutional change at a traditional academic institution, and 3) evaluates the reception of these innovations by the Humphrey community members engaged with the project as participants and audience members.

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