The Mackinac Center focuses on Michigan policy issues, which often limits the national attention our work receives. But the past few months have seen a meteoric increase in pick-ups of articles and commentaries by Center reporters and analysts by nationally known blogs and news outlets, spiking the number of visits to the Center’s websites by thousands.

The first came in mid-October, when the Drudge Report, a leading online news aggregator, featured Labor Policy Director Paul Kersey’s blog post about why the political “progressives” of the Left should take responsibility for the plight of Detroit, rather than besiege it as part of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. As Kersey trenchantly observed in reframing the debate over Detroit’s decline, “What exactly has Detroit done except implement the progressive vision as far as it practically could?”

Tom Gantert, senior capitol correspondent for Michigan Capitol Confidential, then scored a trifecta when his story about gym teachers out-earning science teachers in certain Michigan school districts was picked up by nationally prominent sites Instapundit.com, the Fox News website and the Heritage Foundation’s “The Foundry” blog.

“Our idea has been to start taking national policy issues like the debate over teacher compensation and show how they apply to Michigan,” Gantert said. “That has caught the attention of a lot of national websites. Michigan Capitol Confidential looks at things from a limited-government perspective, so there aren’t a lot of other people reporting on the things we do.”

The approach has yielded other successes. Gantert’s story about the failure of Michigan’s corporate welfare schemes to boost “green” jobs in the solar industry was picked up by Instapundit and Drudge. Instapundit also linked to Gantert’s story showing that several Michigan government employees rank among the top 5 percent of wage earners in the country. Glenn Beck’s website The Blaze featured a fourth Gantert story detailing how government workers’ compensation has outstripped private workers’ compensation over the last 30 years in Michigan.

This conscious effort to increase national attention to our work retains our Michigan research focus, while broadening our marketing reach. The result better promotes the Center’s animating vision: advancing liberty and opportunity for all people.