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COVERING Election Day

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by I Should Coco, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    First off, this is on the Journalism Topics board. NOT POLITICS.

    I'm curious how other newsrooms are covering Election Day this year.

    For the first time in my career, our shop already has decided against trying to get final results in the print edition. We will run short stories on the local races with partial results, then follow up with complete coverage for Thursday's paper. Of course, the final voting results for our region will be posted on our web site sometime early Wednesday morning.

    Even with 1 to 1.5-hour later deadlines, our besieged county clerk's office counts the ballots so slowly, they are saying the final vote tally won't be done until 2 a.m. at the earliest. That's six hours after the polls close, BTW.

    So our reporters will get whatever the local vote totals are at 11:30 or so, we'll snap whatever candidate drinking party photos we can get earlier in the night, and use wire for the state and national races like governor and U.S. Senate. Final page should be sent by 12:30 a.m., about 90 minutes past our usual deadline. And of course the back shop is crying like crazy over that because "it's the Wednesday paper ... there's tons of inserts!"

    Anyone else?
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I always like seeing the panic-stricken looks on newssiders' faces when they realize they have to fill a few blank pages in less than an hour until deadline.

    Sports people, of course, do that every night.
  3. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    They were at least kind enough to extend the regular 9 PM weekday deadlines to 10 PM tonight to see if they can get some final results in. But they're doing much like your shop is Coco. I believe 2-3 three stories about races with early results, some photos from results parties, and full coverage in Thursday's paper. Of course all stories will be updated with complete results online on Tuesday night.
  4. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    I've done both news and sports during my career, and as someone who's been primarily a desker the past 15 years, it doesn't matter either way to me. A blank page at 10:30 p.m. is a blank page that needs to be filled fast, whether with news or sports.

    I'll agree with you, Baron, that news reporters do freak out a little more writing on deadline than our sports guys. In either case, get an angle/lede in your mind as you come back from the field/gym/meeting/courthouse, type it out and keep going. Go with the information you have and bang out the rough draft of history.
  5. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I worked both sides and news-siders were no less skilled than sports guys on deadline.
  6. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    What sports folks don't realize is that, even though these contests have been scheduled well in advance, there's really no way to definitely determine who will actually win. There can always be surprises. Plus, editors usually want more than just the actual tally. They want the stories behind the wins or the losses and any quirks that happen along the way. Reporters are expected to cover the same contest that many other reporters cover, yet come away with a fresh insight or angle.

    There's also the possibility that unexpected technical or other difficulties will delay the outcome of the contests.

    And that's why the news side folks get pizza.
  7. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Sports people don't understand that?

  8. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    My blue is broken.
  9. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Sorry. Should have seen the sarcasm dripping even without it.
  10. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    We've already been told that the election night pizza is off limits to the sports desk.
  11. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    Excellent leadership.
  12. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    The first couple of times you have to file a gamer in less than 45 minutes is nervewracking, but then it becomes edifying and then it becomes drug-like. Since political reporters only experience that level of anxiety once a year, they mostly hate it, and reasonably so.
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