Election night had great significance for many reasons. On Tuesday night, America sat and watched as the next president was determined, local races came to close decisions and social media sites were blasted with political opinions. Tuesday night, I did not sit and watch; I was a part of it.
Ever since late September, members of The Oswegonian, WNYO and WTOP met to prepare an election night show that would be unlike any Oswego State had ever seen.
We planned the coverage over the course of the next month and a half, deciding everything from what to include in our coverage to what hashtag to use for our Twitter posts. The result of these weeks of planning was an election night show that surpassed, in depth and professionalism, anything any Oswego State media organization had ever done.
The entire day was a whirlwind. From the moment I woke up, to when the show started and up until the moment I fell asleep early the next morning, the election night show was the only thing on my mind. Being part of this effort was without a doubt one of the most exciting things that has happened during my time here at Oswego State. There were over 60 people involved in the production of the show with members from each of the three media organizations participating. We had groups in Syracuse reporting live on an exciting race for the 24th Congressional District; we had a round table discussion; we even had our very own “war room,” all of this happening live.
As someone who works at a newspaper, I have never experienced the feeling of something being live. I usually write for the future, but during that show everything was in the present moment. Being part of something of this magnitude was exhilarating, and when the show ended everyone was left with a feeling of immense pride.
When the show was over it didn’t matter who won, it didn’t matter that things weren’t perfect, because they never are. What mattered was that a huge group of students came together on election night and provided our campus, city and county with election coverage that was unparalleled with any election coverage provided in Oswego County.
I had two favorite moments from the night. The first was when I heard from professor Gary Ritzenthaler that there were people on Twitter getting information about the race in Florida from our hashtag before they saw it on TV. This really put into perspective the fact that we had a real impact on the coverage of the election thanks to social media.
My other favorite moment was about half way into the show when WTOP General Manager Ben Gordon turned to me and said, “what’s the next thing we can collaborate for?” This resonated for me because it showed that we really succeeded. Not only was the show going well, but there was already the desire to do more.
Since our first meeting at the end of last semester, all three of the media organization leaders knew that collaboration was something we wanted to focus on and something that was going to be important this year, but I remain floored at the level to which this collaboration has reached. Where rivalries used to exist the boundaries have been broken. There is no bad blood, there is no picking a group, and everyone has finally realized that things are just better together.
I applaud everyone who was involved in the election coverage for a tremendous effort on Tuesday night. It was the perfect culmination of hard work paying off, and I think I can say with some certainty that everyone can look back on that night and be proud of what we did.