Written by: RuAnne Walworth
Cameras flash, fingers fly over computer keyboards, phones ring, and live streams run of behind-the-scenes coverage in Michigan States’ newsroom. The pressure and excitement of voting day creeps into the spirits of every person involved today at MSU. Students and faculty brainstorm ideas for the best articles, the best blog posts, and the most active voting cites. TV’s in the room display local and national news stations who are broadcasting the updates on the voting polls.
Dr. Davenport is an active member in the newsroom supporting both faculty and students with the coverage on this year’s election. “The students are able to learn about the democratic process and distribute news in many different ways. Whether they use their laptops, phones, iPads, Twitter or Facebook, the news is being sent out to the world,” spoke Davenport. She is a strong advocate for the students being involved in such a professional setting. “It is nice for students to see news and information given to other fellow students, helping to make a difference in their own lives and voting stance.”
The goal of everyone who is part of the MI First Election team is to reach a mainstream of young, undecided voters. Many first-time voters have only had opinion-fed information given to them from their friends and family. So, it is important that they receive non-biased political feed to help make their deciding factor for this election valid and completely their choice. Davenport states: “The theme for this website is focusing on first time voters and what they are thinking about for the election. It is also built for people who want to know general information on specific categories dealing with their own proposals and counties they reside in. We keep this information up for other newsrooms to use and refer to.”
This newsroom experience is excellent for students and staff alike. Lauren Underhill, a student at MSU, is a staff writer and a broadcaster for this election coverage. “Yes, I definitely think this is a great experience and introduction for students into the real-world of the newsroom. I think we all feel a little bit lost in the programs. For classes we report on things no one seems to care about, whereas in the news room, people actually care about elections and it is nice to be recognized and have your work read and cared about,” Underhill states.
The students participating in today’s election site are all in the department of Communication Arts & Sciences. This coverage gives everyone a different background of experience, whether that be with photography, broadcast journalism, editing, film, interviews, etc. Underhill states “I would like to be a Broadcast Journalist, so this is a good starting point and experience with something outside the field of print media.” Another student, Alexandra Silver, shares “I want to be a Broadcast Journalist so this is a great experience to view what it takes to create a script, have it reviewed and see people share it in front of the camera.”
As the time goes on, the newsroom never dies and the stories never end. The coverage will be constant throughout the duration of Election Day keeping everyone in the know. Broadcasts continue to run, students continue to write – Election Day lives on.