Independence’s communications director reflects on his time at OSU and how he uses his multimedia skills to inform and educate his small community

Emmanuel Goicochea

Emmanuel Goicochea

By Emily Willis, CLA Student Writer - March 1, 2024

Emmanuel Goicochea, ‘20, who graduated with a degree in new media communications (NMC), now works as communications director for the City of Independence, informing residents and sharing stories of the small town’s unique character and charm. Using his mixed media talents gained from the NMC program, Goicochea oversees communication from all 11 departments and guides the city’s municipal marketing strategy, while serving as the city’s external representative.

After graduating from OSU during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Goicochea took up a position at a digital marketing agency in Lake Oswego and then the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, being promoted to management roles early on. However, Goicochea always had his eye on Independence as the ideal spot to settle down, and after a few years, a position opened up and he jumped at the opportunity.

 “It is the real, tangible communication skills from my time at OSU that continue to help me throughout my career,” explained Goicochea. ”

After receiving an offer, Goicochea relocated to Independence, Oregon, where he now serves as the city’s public representative as communications director. On any given day, he is writing stories, working on the city’s newsletter, responding to emergency situations, and creating engaging video content for the entire community, all with the purpose of keeping residents informed.

With all the responsibilities of being Independence's first and only public information officer, at first, Goicochea fought a heavy dose of imposter syndrome. “Many of my colleagues are more experienced than me, which led me to believe I was in over my head. But after conversations with colleagues and creating quality multimedia content for the city, I felt more comfortable within this community and with myself. I let my work speak for itself.”

Goicochea remembers his time as an NMC student fondly. The variety of classes in creative writing , media theory , and 3D design exposed him to new media in which to excel at, but it was the production classes that grabbed his attention. Always having a love for storytelling, Carmen Tiffany’s pre- and post-production classes as well as  Todd Kesterson’s 3D design classes instilled in Goicochea the passion and skills for a career in content creation. When he was a sophomore, Goicochea got to put his skills to the test when he applied for a job as a videographer for the College of Engineering, allowing him to apply his knowledge hands-on. Then in his senior year, he won the inaugural Science Media Fellowship, where he produced a 15-minute documentary about students studying at sea.

At the City of Independence, Goicochea uses his content creation skills to highlight city workers, residents, and programs. Bringing human stories to the forefront is important to capture and show that there are real, dedicated residents who take pride in their community. In 2023, Goicochea received the Communication (Bulldog) Award from the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association, for his contributions highlighting Independence’s public works department, particularly with video.

Goicochea explained, “A huge part of my job is building relationships with residents and a component of doing that is constructing a ‘digital bridge’ of accessible content and helping residents feel more connected with their city government and understanding what their tax dollars go towards. For instance, I produced a video about our city’s street sweeper. That’s a service that helps everybody, right? It benefits a lot of people, but no one knows that the person who keeps our streets clean is also a long-term resident who cares about our town.”

Goicochea has revealed Independence’s unsung heroes through new media and hopes to continue inspiring others with fresh content.

For students looking to break into the communications field, Goicochea recommends getting “involved with as many things as you can, including extracurricular activities.”

“Offer yourself and skills,” advised Goicochea, “and if someone needs videography or photography and you have those abilities, offer that for free. Take that as an opportunity to learn and gain skills that you can include in your portfolio, so that you can leverage for internships or future jobs.”

During the ice storm in January 2024, Goicochea went out with Independence’s police chief to document the process that public works crews and first responders were doing to help keep the city safe for residents and travelers.

Goicochea receiving the Communication (Bulldog) Award from the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association in 2023.