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MPP students talk contemporary politics, news, and policy on “Michigan PolicyCast”

February 16, 2017

At the beginning of the winter term and new year, Master of Public Policy candidates Shawn Danino and Matthew Hillard launched “The Michigan PolicyCast,” a radio show-style podcast on the driving political, policy, and media issues of the day.

“Matt came up with the idea and approached me at a get-together early in the fall semester," says Danino. "We started experimenting with different formats, initially trying more of a debate setting and then settling on more of a news digest with occasional interviews."

While applying to policy schools, Hillard noted that many schools sponsored and produced podcasts, but the Ford School didn't. "With these thoughts in mind, I met Shawn in a post-placement exam haze and realized that both he and I had this passion and wanted to contribute our, and more broadly Ford's, voice to policy-related content.”

Together, Danino and Hillard have covered a wide range of topics. They began with a summary of the 2016 election results and a podcast on President Obama’s farewell address and final press conference. Since then, they've focused on a number of under-covered news stories that they feel deserve more attention.

“I am more of a news junkie while Matt is more of a policy wonk, so we try to find a good balance between stories in the news cycle and deeper dives into policy issues,” Danino explained. “I try to watch Sean Spicer's Daily Press conference and get a lot of my news stories from Rachel Maddow, but we also borrow from news stories people share on social media.”

According to Danino and Hillard, the goal of the podcast is to make politics accessible to millenials by highlighting issues that the news cycle has not thoroughly covered. Says Danino, “I want people to learn something.”

“I can only speak for myself but my goal is to contribute a fresh and coherent perspective on news stories that are typically presented in a highly partisan and polarized media environment,” Hillard elaborated. “Instead of reiterating headlines from CNN, Fox News, The New York Times [and the] Washington Post, I hope through this podcast to advance the conversation with a basis in policy wonk-er-y.”

So far, PolicyCast episodes include:

--Story by Jackson Voss (MPP '18)

The Michigan PolicyCast can be streamed here on SoundCloud or subscribed to on the iTunes Store. If you would be interested in being a subject matter expert and appearing on PolicyCast, or would like to submit ideas for stories or discussions featured on the podcast, contact Danino and Hillard at [email protected].