Students in communication professor Tom Hollihan's Communication 580: Media and Politics class were assigned to do a presentation to propose possible solutions aimed at solving the problems of contemporary politics in the United States — and one group of students wound up with extra help from California Attorney General and former Governor Jerry Brown.
Students (pictured, from left to right with Brown) Jacqueline Barkett, Cortez Ervin, George Villanueva, Adrienne Ng (not pictured) and Rena Pacheco (not pictured) suggested communication-based reforms that might rehabilitate the practice of politics in the United States.
"We went straight to the source by interviewing Jerry Brown at a political fundraiser and he inspired our project," Barkett said. "In a rather candid interview, he made suggestions regarding media reform in terms of increasing voter turnout. He also stressed the importance of reaching audiences through social media in order to get voter attention."
Hollihan said the assignment was about students finding creative strategies to rehabilitate electoral politics in the United States.
"We spent a lot of time looking at why there is a disinterested electorate, low voter turnout, and high cynicism about politics and public officials, and students were assigned to find strategies to remedy this," Hollihan said. "This group quite effectively achieved this, and as a result had a wonderful experience to learn about politics in a first-hand way that generated great enthusiasm for the political process."
Barkett said when she first signed up for the class she assumed there would be more discussion about the international arena. "But there was so much I didn't know about the political process such as the strategies of campaigning, TV spots, polling, etc. I found the class very interesting and would recommend it to anybody who is interested in the political process."