International Policy Center Home Page
Type: School event

Getting the story told and working with the media


Mara Ostfeld and Lauren Slagter

Date & time

Apr 12, 2022, 12:00-1:00 pm EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

Open the the U-M community.

The best ideas still need a communication plan to build awareness and catch on. This is uniquely true for public policy, where ideas are often shared and vetted through the lens of the media.  Developing a message, telling a story, and utilizing traditional and social channels to get the word out increases the chance for success. Join us for this interactive workshop featuring Mara Ostfeld, associate faculty director and director of communications, and Lauren Slagter, senior communications specialist of U-M's Poverty Solutions.  

Mara and Lauren will share their experiences on what makes a successful story, how to effectively pitch your idea to journalists, work with reporters, and prepare for interviews. This workshop will also include a short exercise to help participants learn how to effectively "get to the point" -- an essential skill for getting the attention of the media.

About the speakers

Mara Ostfeld is the associate faculty director of Poverty Solutions, an assistant research scientist at the Ford School of Public Policy, and a research associate with the Center for Political Studies. In that role, she oversees the initiative’s communications efforts; continues her research on the relationship between race, media, and political attitudes; and contributes to the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study.

Ostfeld is an expert on survey research and the analysis of public opinion, with a particular focus on the relationship between race, gender, media and political attitudes. Her work has been published in journals that include Social Forces, Political Behavior, and Political Psychology and Political Communication and been funded by places including the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has a forthcoming book looking at the historical political significance of skin color in America, both within and between ethnoracial groups, as well as its evolving relationship with political identities. She is also the primary investigator of a project with the University of Puerto Rico in which they are implementing the first representative study of political attitudes in Puerto Rico. During national elections, Mara also works as an analyst at NBC and Telemundo.

Mara holds a PhD and master’s in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a BA in social work from Rutgers University.

Lauren Slagter is a senior communications specialist at Poverty Solutions, sharing the impact of the initiative’s research with members of the media and the public. Previously, Slagter spent eight years as a daily news reporter, primarily covering education and housing at MLive, Kokomo Tribune in Indiana, and Big Rapids Pioneer. Her work examined how Michigan’s school choice policy and school funding model contributes to inequity, the impact of poverty on students’ learning, how the housing voucher system contributes to segregation in Washtenaw County, and other issues related to poverty. Slagter’s reporting received numerous awards from the Associated Press, Michigan Press Association, and Hoosier State Press Association. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University.


Poverty Solutions, The Edward Ginsburg Center, Program in Practical Policy Engagement

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