More than ever, college-aged students are using media to stay up-to-date on this year’s election, whether it be through social media, television or, thanks to student media at Stanislaus State, podcasts. KCSS 91.9 and The Signal, the student-run radio station and newspaper at Stanislaus State, have created Central Valley Politics – a political podcast produced by students, for students.
The podcast is hosted by Communication Studies and Journalism professor Shannon Stevens, and includes reports from students in her political communication class and interviews with candidates relevant to down-ballot elections in the Central Valley. Stevens’ political communication class is only offered at the university during an election, and this year, both Stevens and producer Mariah Esparza wanted to try something new to keep students informed.
“I think it’s an easier way to get information out about down-ballot elections, measures and propositions,” said Esparza. “Using media like podcasts makes the information more accessible to students, and lets them know what they should be voting on in November. If you were to go look up some of the candidates, it takes a long time to try and figure out their views on issues or what districts you should be voting for – media makes it easier.”
Student reports discussed on Central Valley Politics range in topic, from Turlock City Council elections to the congressional election race. Episodes of the podcast also feature 30-minute interviews with District 2 and District 4 candidates for City Council, including Steven Nascimento, Amy Bublak and Gil Esquer, giving listeners the opportunity to hear their views on Turlock-related ballot measures and what they have to offer his or her district. An upcoming episode will feature Jaime Franco, Esparza said.
“I have really enjoyed learning about each candidate’s inspiration for running for City Council, and also what they want their legacy to be,” said Esparza.
The podcast has allowed student media at Stanislaus State to better connect the student body to the election, informing them on not only the national election but local issues as well.
“This podcast teaches students about things they can directly influence,” said Esparza. “Some people think their votes don’t count, but down-ballot elections are close to home.”
KCSS and The Signal are spreading election information through other means as well, including a special election edition of The Signal which will place information on propositions, City Council elections and the national election directly into students’ hands.
Following the election, Central Valley Politics will continue, said Esparza, offering insights on the election results followed by continued coverage of local politics.
“The candidates that have come in said they really enjoyed it, and would want to come back and talk again about future things in politics,” said Esparza.
There are currently five episodes of Central Valley Politics, which can be listened to online and are available to download. The podcast can be found at www.kcss.net, www.csusignal.com and www.soundcloud.com/kcss-podcasts.