Gateway III investigates voters' trust in the media



Story by Amanda Linares
Video by OR Media

This past summer, students enrolled in the third course of the Gateway to Media sequence joined forces to get more of their fellow UO students involved in this year’s election.

SOJC Assistant Professor Ed Madison tasked students with producing multimedia pieces in teams, as part the class’ client work for the Associated Students of the University of Oregon. Their objective? To help increase voter registration and voter turnout.

As journalism students, they were particularly drawn to the issues of election coverage and Americans’ declining trust in the news media.

Public relations senior Vanessa Serrato said being able to go out to the streets of Eugene and ask people directly about their thoughts on the election and the media was a valuable experience.

“After the election, the idea of trusting the media is hard,” said Serrato. “But I understand with every [form] of media, you have to do your own research and a little bit more investigation.”

Nicolas Walcott, managing producer for the student-run production company OR Media, went behind the scenes, following Gateway students as they interviewed citizens to get their thoughts about the trustworthiness of election coverage.

“We wanted to capture passionate students doing work that is incredibly relevant today,” said Walcott. “It’s an important topic and not an easy task that we are given as media professionals.”

As a public relations major, Serrato said she’s well aware of the stigma that comes with the position and the stereotypes of PR people as spin doctors. She said that, although the assignment was meant as a learning experience that gave her the fundamental skills for producing video, it was a personal bonus to have the opportunity to talk with people directly about this issue.

“[Gateway] gave me the confidence [I needed] for my future career, “ said Serrato.

Amanda Linares is a multimedia intern for the SOJC’s Communications Office and a graduate student in the Professional Journalism Master’s program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s School of Journalism and Communications and has written for the unofficial school paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, as well as a variety of other publications, including Alachua County Today newspaper and Florida Hospital’ s Best In Care magazine. She’s also worked as a guest anchor and producer for WUFT-TV’s Afternoon News In 90 in Gainesville, Florida. In her graduate program, she has shifted her focus from print to multimedia production and photojournalism. Linares hopes to grow her journalism skills across multiple platforms and plans on graduating this spring.