GW Launches Benchmark Government Communications Survey

Graduate School of Political Management will manage the project aimed at enhancing public trust in government.

September 08, 2022

The George Washington University College of Professional Studies (CPS) will lead a first of its kind national research project to examine the state of government communication in the United States. The survey, which will be distributed nationally in late September, will gather input from communicators at the federal, state and local levels, as well as communications professionals who engage with the government on behalf of private companies and nonprofits.

Strategic communications professionals will answer a series of questions about key factors affecting government communications. All respondents will be asked about their views on the public’s trust in government. Respondents in the public sector will evaluate the effectiveness of government communications to the public and with their counterparts in the private and nonprofit sectors. Meanwhile, participants working in the private and nonprofit sectors will assess their ability to communicate with the government.

Lawrence J. Parnell, an associate professor and director of the Strategic Public Relations master’s program at GW’s Graduate School of Political Management, which is housed in CPS, and Schoen Cooperman Research will jointly manage the project, with support from the National Association of Government Communicators. Axios and Ragan Communications are also participating as media partners."The study will yield strategic insights that will empower practitioners in government and the private sector to improve their communication and enhance public trust in their messaging,” Parnell said.

Researchers will conduct hundreds of interviews with communications professionals in the public and private sectors, using contact lists provided by all the partner organizations involved in the project.

“This research project reflects the practical and academic work that our students and faculty are engaged in every day,” Liesl Riddle, dean of the GW College of Professional Studies said. “We expect it will provide useful insights into best practices in government communication and identify areas for more focus in our curriculum. I applaud Professor Parnell and his partners for conceiving and launching this important project.”

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