Over 300 students gathered in the MSU Journalism's new newsroom for Mi First Election student election coverage. MSU faculty and professors assisted students in delivering a newscast that aired live, online and on WKAR.
In 2012, journalism professor and newsroom director Troy Hale participated in the first Mi First Election coverage. Hale noticed the interaction between the students and faculty and thought, "We need to have this every day." He pitched the idea to create a newsroom where students and faculty can work together all-year-round. The project came to life in 2016. Cut outs of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stood behind the news desk weeks before the grand opening.
Hale and MSU professor Bob Gould tested equipment the night before the grand opening. "It looks finished, but there are some behind the scenes stuff that aren't finished yet." Hale said. The official opening of the newsroom will be in January of 2017. "Mi First Election was a great way to first showcase the room," he said. "The great thing about it though is that we found things that didn't work exactly the way we wanted them to and because it's still under construction, we can make some of those changes -which worked out really well."
Hale helped journalism junior Caitlin DeLuca clip her microphone before anchoring on air. DeLuca chose to study broadcast her sophomore year at MSU. She worked in the newsroom from noon to midnight. "It was probably one of the best days of my life," she said. "We had a brand new facility, where all of the equipment was state-of-the-art. That day was one of the most tiring but rewarding days of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way."
DeLuca posed after anchoring at the news desk. DeLuca was not required to be in the newsroom all day, but Hale said if she wanted to stay, there was lots of work to do. "I was like, 'Why not? Let's do this," DeLuca said.
Candidate Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election. The remaining faculty and students went home around 2:30 a.m.
"I opened the place up at around 7:45 a.m. and closed it around 2:30 a.m. It was a very long day," Hale says.
Mi First Election closed and the newsroom now enters it's final phases of construction until its second opening in January of 2017.