Michelle G. – BASIS Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale Senior Michelle G.

How Representatives are Represented: Portrayal of State Legislators in the Media

Project/blog link: How Representatives are Represented: Portrayal of State Legislators in the Media
BASIS Advisor: Mr. Chris Lester
Internship location: Arizona House of Representatives
Onsite Mentor: Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita, Arizona State Representative

Project Abstract

People often complain of political gridlock and stagnant congresses, but state legislatures continue to pass important pieces of legislation affecting our communities. Despite this, news from state legislatures continues to be undervalued by constituents; few understand what is currently occurring in state House of Representatives and Senate, save a few scandals and controversial bills. My research focuses on different representations of the local Arizona government, from news, television, and the government itself, and to understand how these affect the opinion of state legislation and indifference towards these policies. As committees draft and propose bills, I will track how they are reported by local news and newspapers and by the government to its citizens. Meanwhile, I will compare the overall process of legislation to the representations of government in film and television. Finally, I will use surveys to assess the current public opinion of the state legislature and of constituents' awareness of bills being currently passed in the state legislature. These representations of state legislature and local government relate to how we perceive them. By understanding the role the government and mainstream media play in these perceptions, we can maintain higher awareness to the actions at our state legislature, where bills that affect our community are passed. Furthermore, by studying the state House of Representatives in particular, I will be able to see the viewpoint of legislators whose terms are more liable to the will of the people, where image is highly important to reelection.

How Representatives are Represented: Portrayal of State Legislators in the Media