The GW GPA Study


First of Its Kind Study Offers Roadmap to Improve Public Trust
in Government 





The 2023 inaugural GW Government and Public Affairs (GPA) Study gathered input from federal, state and private sector communicators, as well as communications professionals who engage with the government on behalf of corporations and nonprofit associations.  

The second year of the multi-year research partnership will examine the trust and effectiveness in government communications from the perception of the general public.

This study was completed in partnership with The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC), Schoen Cooperman Research (SCR), Ragan and Axios.

Larry Parnell

"We know from industry research, such as the Edelman Trust Barometer and others, that trust in government has been declining for several years. We thought it important to examine the reasons for this decline and identify opportunities to narrow that trust gap."

Larry Parnell
Associate Professor
Strategic Public Relations Program Director


Key Findings, Challenges & Next Steps

Reasons for Lack of Public Trust in Government

The rise in disinformation is harming public trust in government

GPA report table 2 68 percent blue and buff bar chart

The government is viewed as being politically-motivated

blue and buff bar chart with 58 percent


Key Findings

Among the results, two things are clear. First, to increase the effectiveness of government communication, messaging and method of delivery need to be modernized and diversified. Second, ongoing training and education are vital to long-term success. 

  • 56% of communication practitioners surveyed believe the public only “somewhat trusts” government information.

  • 68% of respondents cited disinformation and 58% identified a view that government communications are politically motivated as the key contributors to the decline in trust.

  • Other major reasons cited include a one-size-fits-all approach (31%), the government sharing information too slowly (reluctance to report) (25%) and an outdated approach to communications strategy (23%).

Next Steps

Respondents recommended the following steps to improve trust and the quality of government communications:

  • Modernizing communications to reach diverse audiences and more socioeconomic categories.

  • Devoting resources to hire and train talent and support continuing education in communications and digital media for professionals.
  • Utilizing social media more effectively.


Carly Cooperman

"I am thrilled to contribute to this groundbreaking report examining public trust in government communication. Along with the Strategic Public Relations faculty and our other partners, we have embarked on a comprehensive, three-year study that we hope will help improve public service and trust in communication by government communicators and leaders across the country. These first year results reveal opportunities for growth and improvement that we hope will be useful to practitioners."

Carly Cooperman
GSPM alumna & GSPM Board of Advisors member
Partner and CEO, Schoen Cooperman Research



Download The GW GPA Report (PDF)

For a copy of this extensive, groundbreaking report, please fill out the form.



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