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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Election Day Coverage

   Stepping into the newsroom the morning of Election Day I knew it was going to be a long, stressful, and very busy day. I feel this is something my entire team knew and because of that everyone made sure to really stay on their grind for the entire day. Our morning meeting ran pretty smoothly with people contributing ideas about how we could cover the election and make use of all the tools we had. We decided to really make use of our live shot capabilities sending reporters to both the polling station in Cardinal Gardens and the viewing party at the Tutor Center.

   Adding a live element to the newscast is both fun and overwhelming all at the same time. Since it’s not scripted there’s a sense of a lack of control. You can never really predict what’s going to happen and then there’s always the fear that the feed will get interrupted and your live shot will go out. We ran into an issue with one of our live shots in which miscommunication led to the reporter not being ready to go live even though they were already on camera. I definitely think better planning could help ease some of the stresses that come with live coverage.

   One of the hard parts of election coverage is that a lot of it relies on you waiting for results to come in, another aspect that you have no control over. For the 6pm show I had formatted for a large chunk of it to be on the results from swing states where polls had closed. The plan was to update the script and the corresponding graphic as the numbers came in. Unfortunately none of the numbers came in during our entire show and we ended up being light on content. This was another situation where better planning would have led to less stress.

   Though we ran into some mishaps I still really enjoyed and learned a lot from our election coverage. I feel my team did a great job of rolling with the punches and getting the work done. Election coverage really emphasized how important it is to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. 

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