Election Day coverage is always exciting, especially when you are chosen to be live at a candidate’s headquarters. At my old station, I had the opportunity to be live at headquarters for a few election days. But I didn’t get my opportunity at my current station until Nov. 4, 2014. The one thing that surprised me about our coverage is the support the station provided for me. Now what I am about to describe may be standard for your station, but with my only previous experience being in market 137, it seemed like heaven to me. Not only did I have a photographer, but we also had a field producer to give us an extra hand. Having covered three decades worth of election days as a photographer, Scott had everything expertly set up. We had a wireless handheld already on the podium, a wired mic at the camera, a monitor set up next to the camera, a laptop edit station all set up, and a light kit. Back at the station, we had all hands on deck, including people from the sales department helping out and two producers in the booth.
We covered the election wall-to-wall for several hours on air, with in-house political analysts, several live reporters all over the Arklatex, and a handful of roving reporters. Everything went really well! I love the excitement of democracy on election day, with campaign supporters all revved up and feeling their effort may have made a difference. Everybody at the headquarters where I was at were all smiles most of the night. Although, those smiles turned upside down as soon as the election returns came in. Turns out, the candidate I was covering for the Shreveport mayoral race came in third, which in Louisiana means he didn’t make it to the run off. The feeling of disappointment among his supporters was palpable. I’ve only ever covered one candidate since getting into this business that has actually won, that was Congressman Rodney Alexander. He had won for several elections in a row, so that was no surprise. He later resigned to join Bobby Jindal’s cabinet for a short while.
The one thing I did notice about having all of the support while out in the field is that my job was narrowed down from MMJ to just reporter. Having one responsibility enabled me to concentrate on the “digital first” philosophy, which is basically post to the web via social media first before you do anything else, including broadcast responsibilities. As a result, I was able to live tweet what was happening a the HQ and also post updates to Facebook. I was tweeting, taking pictures and cell phone videos, like a social media machine. If anybody wanted to know what was happening at the HQ I was covering, all they had to do was look at my twitter/facebook handle and they would feel like they were there.
Live tweeting, even when I am MMJing, makes any meeting/event I’m covering more fun because I get to be interactive with the people who are following the story. We have one more election coming up, which is the run-off election and I am looking forward to it.