What These Examples Show

All three examples exhibit qualities of effective public policy communication (Checklists, Communicating in the Public Policy Process). They are narrowly focused, provide supporting evidence or analysis, and refer to public support. Examples 1 and 2 offer clear alternatives to the proposed action (Task 2).

Examples 1 on auto safety and 2 on mining show public support of the viewpoint, not by reference to opinion polls or other statistical measures, but by invoking public authority. Those examples invoke federal motor vehicle safety standards and state environmental protection regulation to show public endorsement of their position. Example 3 invokes the authority of ‘sunshine’ mandates for public access in support of a local civic group’s wish to participate in a government decision affecting their town.

Examples 1 and 2 are detailed and somewhat technical. Although the contents are organized and sub-headings are provided to aid comprehension, some of the detail might be moved to an appendix. However, the choice to use those options should depend on the writer’s knowledge of the circumstances in which the documents will be read and used. As noted in the commentary on earlier examples, writers should be certain that all readers will have access to the entire document before deciding to move crucial detail to an appendix.

Taken together, the three examples show the variety of uses for the genre, public comment. Technical experts and concerned citizens alike can use this genre effectively to intervene in the administration of policy.