Media studies alumna Harley Adsit (’20) advocates for the people. As Communications Director for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Harley not only drafts press releases, but also runs the team’s franked mail program and communicates with constituents about the impacts that legislation will have on them. Her latest project entails interviewing patients across the country about their struggles with affordable healthcare, which will aid policy reform.
In her role, Harley prioritizes concerns that directly impact local communities – for the residents of coastal Georgia, sea level rise is one major concern. “There’s a lot of polarization nationwide, but [coastal Georgia] is who we represent. And that’s what we focus on,” Harley said.
One challenge Harley sees with today’s media ecosystem is that it runs on soundbites. “It’s difficult to have balanced, nuanced conversations” based on headlines compared to actual discussions happening in the halls of Congress, she says. Harley suggests reading beyond headlines to overcome this pitfall, to always check if we’re reading the opinion or news section, and to make an effort to understand the motivations of those speaking to us.
Noting a trend of pessimism with the current state of government, Harley encouraged us to stay optimistic: “There is good happening,” she said. “There's actually so much collaboration behind the scenes that just doesn't make it on screen.”