By The People
California Outreach

California public television station PBS SoCal, formerly KOCE-TV, is pursuing an array of community outreach projects, building on By the People’s “What’s Next California?” documentary. Through the fall of 2011, the station will highlight the project’s Deliberative Polling results and launch an on-air and online community engagement polling project to build interest in the broadcast.

What's Next California?
Current Project
What’s Next California?
California Citizens Deliberate

Over the weekend of June 24-26, 2011, more than 400 California citizens traveled to Torrance for a citizens’ dialogue on the critical issues facing the state, including legislative representation, taxation, whether local governments should have more autonomy and control over public services, and the initiative process. The citizens, who represented a scientific, random sample of the entire state, participated in California’s first statewide “Deliberative Poll.”

While data are still preliminary and full results are still forthcoming, initial analysis found strong demand for greater transparency and accountability, a clear lack of trust in the current system and a strong desire for solutions. Initial results also showed an unwillingness to abdicate control to the Legislature, but a recognition that the Legislature needs tools to solve problems.

During the weekend, citizens engaged in face-to-face discussions in small groups and in dialogue with competing experts. Californians were supported by factual information provided in a discussion guide and considered the critical arguments on both sides of issues. Then they articulated their priorities for fixing the state.

The event was moderated by Judy Woodruff of The PBS NewsHour and videotaped for a documentary to be broadcast on PBS stations in California and elsewhere. The What’s Next California? project included social media and interactive Internet outreach.

The effort was organized by California Forward, the New America Foundation in California, the Public Policy Institute of California, the Nicolas Berggruen Institute, California Common Cause, the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, and the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University. The Deliberate Poll was coordinated by the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University.

Bringing the views of 'ordinary' citizens to a national discussion on the important issues of the day

California’s Deliberative Poll

For the first time ever, a scientific random sample of Californians gathered to deliberate about critical issues related to the state’s governance. Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent for The PBS NewsHour served as the event moderator. The weekend-long Deliberative Poll was held June 24-26, 2011, in Torrance, California, and will serve as the focus of “What’s Next California?” -- a MacNeil/Lehrer Productions documentary report. The program will air on PBS stations in California and elsewhere in the fall of 2011.

Michigan Citizens Deliberate

Citizens deliberateFor the first time ever, a scientific random sample of the people of Michigan gathered together to deliberate about the hard choices facing the state’s economic future. Results of Michigan’s first Deliberative Poll® show what the people of the state would think if they could all become more informed and discuss the issues in depth. Highly representative in both attitudes and demographics, a sample of 314 participants deliberated for a long weekend in Lansing, with both small group discussions and plenary sessions in which their questions were answered by competing experts. The resulting changes of opinion in the final survey offer some dramatic recommendations for both policymakers and the public.

Learn more about Michigan station activities here.


Copyright ©2011 MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.