CoJMC students to cover 2016 election live

CoJMC students to cover 2016 election live

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - 11:30am
Election 2016
The 2016 presidential election will be covered by students in the College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

by Savanah Baker

Students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications will be providing full coverage on Election Day through multimedia, television and radio outlets. Students taught by Associate Professor Trina Creighton, Assistant Professor of Practice Michelle Hassler and Associate Professor Barney McCoy will begin coverage at 2 p.m. and continue until the election is called.

Election Day coverage by CoJMC students is a long tradition in the college.

“It’s just such a good opportunity to have the students out there with people who are paid to do this,” Creighton said. “Our students are right alongside those working in the business and…I know the impact (that) has on journalists.”

Creighton said during the first broadcast coverage she spearheaded in 2008, a student came back thrilled to be treated like a real journalist.

“I told that student, it’s because you are a journalist.”

Since then, broadcasting students have covered two midterm elections and the 2012 presidential election.

Thirty-two Multimedia Journalism students, taught by Hassler and McCoy, will be involved in live coverage and mobile reporting during Election Day. Some will produce a live blog, which will provide real-time updates on the NewsNetNebraska website, The live blog will feature curated news and original video content, plus broadcast packages by Creighton’s News Videography class.

Other Multimedia Journalism students will act as roving mobile reporters, creating and editing video interviews in the field with their smartphones and live tweeting from a variety of locations, including campaign watch parties in Lincoln and Omaha. The NewsNetNebraska Twitter account (@newsnetnebraska) and the live blog will also feature real-time updates from Star City News students at locations in Lincoln and Omaha. In addition, the college’s Nebraska News Service will report results of state legislative races and other state ballots issues for the news service’s 120 client news organizations around the state.

Six students from McCoy’s Broadcast News Writing class will be hosting live coverage of election night on KRNU Radio from 8-10 p.m. University of Nebraska–Lincoln political science professors John Hibbing and Kevin Wright, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln history professor Lloyd Ambrosius will join students on air and provide expert campaign analysis.

Star City News will provide live television coverage of the election beginning at 8 p.m. and running until the election is called. Creighton will act as executive producer and be assisted by Star City News producers and CoJMC students Lauren Reams and Michael Snow. The broadcasting coverage will include live talks with professors from CoJMC regarding the election, over 40 news and feature packages created by students and weather updates.

In addition, undergraduate and graduate students in Digital Insights and Analytics are working on a project in which they are examining analytics regarding the Nebraska ballot initiative about the death penalty. The students are evaluating data from a variety of sources, including online searches, Google Analytics, and social media, and applying their knowledge of digital analytics to predict the outcome of the vote.

Through the partnership with Hootsuite, the students will also gather analytics in real-time during election coverage. They will be monitoring multiple platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs and newsfeeds.

“Covering the election gives students a huge opportunity to be in the front lines of history and to see an election in the making,” said Dean Maria Marron. “The fact that our students are covering the election from a digital, broadcast and social media stance is really important to their education…and they will probably remember it for life.”

“Election day, the casting and counting of ballots, along with reporting results, is the closest we ever get to holding democracy in our hands," said Allen Beermann, executive director of the Nebraska Press Association in an email interview.

“Students at CoJMC will have a special privilege when they have the opportunity to cover and report Election Day results, interview candidates and voters, and finally, help frame the stories that unfold on Election Day and night,” he added.

President and Executive Director Jim Timm of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association agreed with Beermann and said in an email interview: “Coverage of a general election offers an outstanding learning opportunity for the CoJMC students…. The work these students will do to provide live coverage on Election Night will not only provide a needed public service, it will also provide invaluable work experience for their pending careers in journalism.”

To access the coverage, viewers and listeners can find the live broadcast by Star City News at beginning at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Radio news coverage can be heard live on KRNU (90.3 FM) from 8-10 p.m. or streamed on the web at

In addition, assistant professor Bryan Wang’s political communication class is conducting comprehensive research on the use of social media in the 2016 presidential campaign. Their report will be published at the end of the semester.