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COM Covers Election Day, All Day and into the Night

Student-run reporting on national, local elections

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More than half of Americans have said that the 2016 election is a major source of anxiety, citing factors like nonstop news coverage, the negative tenor of the campaigns, and the potentially worrying outcome, depending on one’s point of view.

But for 60 or so College of Communication students spending today covering the national election, Massachusetts political races, and ballot question results, the stress will most likely be mitigated by the excitement, and the importance, of what they are doing. Their efforts are a collaboration among BUTV10, the BU News Service, the State House Program, WTBU, and the journalism and film departments. Tonight at 7 p.m. a special report, The Vote 2016, will air on BUTV10.com and on campus channel 10.

At the helm of tonight’s production is Natalie Robson (COM’16), who organized the coverage as her graduate thesis project. “I came into school thinking I would be the next Diane Sawyer, but now I enjoy the production world,” Robson says. “After the primaries I learned that this coverage could be my thesis project, and I thought it would be an incredible opportunity to get hands-on experience. We’re entirely student-run, and we have put in so many hours of work.”

While anchors, reporters, and analysts, among them Pulitzer Prize–winning former political reporter Thomas Fiedler (COM’71), dean of COM, and frequent political commentator John Carroll, a COM assistant professor of mass communication, will be based in the COM building, The Vote 2016 will also feature student reporters at Clinton and Trump election-night headquarters in New York and at the New Hampshire headquarters of Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Governor Maggie Hassan. As well, there will be live reports from the nation’s capital, where students from BU’s Study Abroad Washington, D.C., Multimedia and Journalism Program are based. Students will report on the congressional race in Virginia as well as the general mood in the nation’s capital.

Students will also gather reactions from Bay State voters faced with four ballot questions: whether to allow a second slots parlor license in the state; whether to allow up to 12 new charter schools, or expanded enrollments in existing charter schools, each year; whether to prohibit the confinement of pigs, calves, and hens in a way that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely; and whether to permit those 21 and older to possess, use, distribute, and grow marijuana in limited amounts.

“We’re covering everything,” says Andrea Asuaje (COM’17), BU News Service managing editor. She says that the BU News Service will contribute to a ProPublica project that is monitoring voter intimidation at the polls. “I’m from Florida so that’s always a story, especially after the 2000 election,” Asuaje says. “And media nationwide is keeping an eye on what Trump does if Clinton wins. Does he concede?”

Michael Sol Warren (COM’16), news editor at the BU News Service, says he thinks of COM’s efforts as the same standard election day coverage as that from any other news outlet. “We want to be viewed as one of their peers,” he says.

Robson says the effort wouldn’t be possible without help from BUTV10.com faculty advisor Christophor Cavalieri (COM’81), a COM assistant professor of television; WTBU faculty advisor Anne Donohue (COM’88), an associate professor of journalism; R. D. Sahl, an associate professor of the professional practice of journalism; journalism lecturer Kate Kahn; and BU News Service faculty advisor Michelle Johnson, an associate professor of the professional practice of journalism.

For Robson, the ultimate reward for the day’s coverage could come a few months down the line. “I’m a trophy chaser, very competitive, so my goal would be a College Television Award,” she says, referring to the student version of an Emmy Award. “It would be incredible if a production of this scale could win an award like that.”

COM’s election coverage begins tonight at 7 p.m. The live three-hour broadcast will air on BUTV10 and also be available via live simulcast on the BUTV10 website and on campus channel 10. The BU News Service will provide supplementary coverage all day on its website and its social media channels.

1 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

One Comment on COM Covers Election Day, All Day and into the Night

  • Michelle Johnson on 11.09.2016 at 3:35 pm

    Hi there. BU News Service didn’t do “supplementary” coverage last night. We covered the election starting at 8 a.m. and went into the wee hours of the morning. We’ve covered this election from the primaries, to the conventions last summer, to the campaign this fall and on election night. We’re not a supplement. We’re a main event. :)

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