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Department of Journalism Covers Election Night

At 1:30 a.m. Nov. 5, Brian Richardson, head of W&L’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communications; Michael Todd, digital media specialist; and journalism student Jane Lee ’09 finally left W&L’s election night newsroom.

Lee was among three dozen students, overseen by nine faculty and staff, who had produced three iterations of The Rockbridge Report Web site, two live television broadcasts and a four-page broadsheet newspaper, all on deadline.

Journalism students had been at local voting places all day, with more at local Democratic and Republican headquarters, the victory party locations for both parties, local watering holes and at other locations for voter reaction. The result was live studio and phone interviews with party officials and local elections experts, and informative graphics and slide shows. They also produced several rewrites and updates of key stories for print, broadcast and the Web site throughout the evening.

Richardson was impressed by the professionalism shown and the dedication to the task at hand. “Every year, as election night winds down,” he said, “I think for a minute about all the newsrooms I’ve been in on election night through the years, and I realized that I have never felt prouder or more honored to have been a part of an election night newsroom than I was last night.

“As journalists, we are never more crucial to the audiences and the democracy we serve than when we show those audiences the results of their participation in self-governance. Last night, everyone did a superb job serving our local audience. My deepest gratitude and heartiest congratulations to all involved.”

W&L journalism alumnus Tom Mattesky ’74, retired deputy bureau chief with CBS News in Washington, joined the department for the evening.

Both broadcasts are available on the department’s Web site http://rockbridgereport.wlu.edu, where the newspaper is also available as a pdf. Hard copies of the newspaper are available in Reid Hall and elsewhere on campus.

Photo: Erin Galliher ’10 interviews Lexington Mayoral candidate Mimi Elrod outside a Lexington precinct, assisted by, from left, Farrell Ulrich ’10, Jason Bacaj ’10 and Henry Nathan ’10. Elrod was elected.