Several Temple University School of Media and Communication students will experience the excitement of covering their first election Nov. 6 live on TUTV.
“It’s the unknown,” explains Karen M. Turner, associate professor of journalism. “You don’t know how it’s going to end up. That’s the excitement of it. Sometimes, reporting can be boring, but you live for a night like election night.”
Temple students have been assigned to cover Election Day for years, more recently through social media and blogs, but this year will mark the first time they will cover this pivotal news event live on television.
“TUTV believes that the opportunity to air live election coverage for the first time in its history not only provides important localized election night information to our audience, it provides an unparalleled experiential learning opportunity for our talented and tenacious students,” says TUTV General Manager Paul Gluck, associate professor of media studies and production.
Starting at 8:30 p.m., TUTV presents America Votes (available in Philadelphia on Comcast 50, Verizon 45 and online at templetv.net). It starts with a half-hour of election news manned by the Temple Update crew, anchored by Megan McNerney, JOUR, and Karen Blyton, COMM, with Johnny Mehler, MSP, providing updates from the social media world.
Annenberg Hall was buzzing Monday as students prepared for the broadcast.
“The stakes are high,” said Update Executive Producer Peter Jaroff, assistant professor of media studies and production of the palatable energy level. “You don’t know what’s going to happen until the votes come in.”
According to Jaroff, student reporters in the field will look at voter turnout and any possible confusion surrounding the voter ID law. They will also report from a student watch party on campus.
At 9 p.m., students in Turner’s “Experimental Journalism” class and Assistant Professor Fran Viola’s, JOUR, “Crossroads” class take over the show. For 45 minutes, journalism majors Ray Boyd and Laura Robb will anchor the segment that will include live reports from the local Republican and Democratic headquarters and in-studio interviews with experts to discuss local and national races.
Ryan McDonald, JOUR, will be visiting polling places throughout the day and will call into the studio to report what was on the minds of Philadelphians as they entered the voting booth. Also, Kyle Noone, JOUR, will be in-studio to continue what is trending on social media.
“The students were adamant about pushing for a social media segment,” Turner says. “For their generation, that is critical.”
At approximately 9:45 p.m., Temple Update will take back the news desk and wrap up TUTV’s live coverage.
As Election Day has drawn nearer, Turner says the students are working through a healthy combination of stress and excitement for this massive undertaking.
“Since all of the instructors have gone through this before [in their professional careers], we have a sense of what to expect,” she says, “and I think the students will rise to the occasion.”