Podcast teaches civics and policy without party bias

first_img“The Policy Paycheck” logo was designed by Jordan Williams, a junior majoring in art. Williams also said the podcast is successful because of its content’s accessibility in addition to its wide availability on streaming services and the Bedrosian Center’s website. “I’m happy that people are gaining what I was hoping to do with that product,” Allen said. “I’m really excited to get more of the marketing out so I can better suit the needs of our audience and have more people listen to it and do more episodes.” In hopes of getting her and her peers’ questions answered, Allen, who is majoring in public policy, created “The Policy Paycheck,” a podcast launched last month dedicated to breaking down major policy issues and analyzing them without bias in easily comprehensible terms. In an effort to think past party lines, “The Policy Paycheck” aims to strictly focus on the data of policy topics ranging from immigration to taxation through conversations with experts and academics in their respective fields.  To publish the podcast, Allen partnered with the USC Bedrosian Center, a research institute in the Price School of Public Policy that focuses on shaping public dialogue surrounding policy issues by sharing information. Aubrey Hicks, the executive director of the Bedrosian Center, believes that Allen’s goal of remaining nonpartisan is an important one when the intent is primarily to inform her audience and prepare them to make their own decisions.  Discussing policy issues is not uncommon for high school and college students, but junior Serena Allen said she noticed that oftentimes she and her peers don’t have the evidence to support their arguments or are immediately intimidated by the jargon and specifics of policy topics.  “I think it works really well at sort of making it accessible to a lot of people where it’s pretty easy to tune in,” Williams said. “It was really breaking down a lot of these big important political discussions that [high school and college students] will be affected by pretty soon and making it something that everyone can sort of grasp and understand.” “I think it’s helpful that I really don’t know — I’m not an expert on any of these topics,” Allen said. “I’m just an undergraduate who’s interested in learning about all these different topics and having the facts to back up anything I believe in. I think a lot of people have an interest in pursuing the same thing in policy and understanding policies.” Junior Serena Allen, who founded the podcast last month, said she wants to keep “The Policy Paycheck” unbiased and nonpartisan, using experts’ input and quantitative data to help students form informed political opinion. (Photo courtesy of Serena Allen) “When we talk about policy and economics, they get so muddled in partisanship, and [Allen’s] idea is to get underneath that,” Hicks said. “I think [Allen] comes with such an open mind to really look at the bigger picture and the sort of what underlies all of this partisanship and how can we get to a place where we have enough information to make our own decisions, regardless of party and politics and all of those sorts of propaganda.” Allen said she wanted the podcast’s content and rhetoric to remain nonpartisan to keep the focus on the foundational facts of policy matters rather than their political interpretations. Not only does she aim to provide information on policy topics, but she said she also hopes to shed light on the misconceptions that divide U.S. political parties. center_img “A lot of the stuff we [at Price Video Service] do — some of it kind of goes over my head because it’s not as familiar — but [Allen’s] podcast is designed for high school students, and it’s actually one of the more interesting things I’ve worked on because it helps me understand it much more easily and clearly,” Hedden said. Corey Hedden, a video producer at Price Video Service, edits Allen’s audio. He said that in working with her he was eager to learn about public policy by listening to “The Policy Paycheck,” despite lacking a background in the field.  More “The Policy Paycheck” episodes will be posted in the upcoming weeks, totaling eight episodes for the first season. Allen said she hopes to produce more seasons and tackle more topics as she collects suggestions from her audience.  “It seems a lot of the time, there’s just certain buzzwords one side uses or the other, even when they’re talking about the same idea,” Allen said. “I think that there’s a huge misconception in American politics that the other side has different goals, when really, everyone’s main goal is to help the American people and to best serve them and the country and make it as beneficial as possible. And so, a lot of the miscommunication I think comes from just not knowing about numbers.” Allen said she believes that the podcast can teach high school seniors preparing to enter college how to argue their ideas and support them with facts and evidence, a skill she thinks is not adequately taught in high school government and civics classes.  Allen said she chose podcasting as her medium because it allows her to ask experts clarifying questions in real time and lighten dense economic topics through casual conversation.  “The Policy Paycheck” has published two episodes to date, the first about taxes and government spending and the second discussing health care programs including Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Its digestibility is one of the most defining features of its production and content, according to Allen’s peers.  “No policy is as simple as being black and white or right or wrong,” Allen said. “By looking at the nonpartisan lens and the economic side of it, you can kind of take the information you learn from the podcasts and the experts and then be able to make your own decision about what you believe and be able to back it up with something that is helpful to those that you’re discussing these issues with.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *