MSU J-School students cover election in new digs

Posted at 12:05 PM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 12:05:11-04

When student journalists from Michigan State University gather Nov. 8 to cover this year’s election, it will mark a pair of firsts.

For many of the students, it will be the first election they’ve been able to participate in. And, the students will be inaugurating newly created space designed to cover a news story of that magnitude.

The Newsroom, located on the first floor of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building, covers nearly 5,000 square feet and will provide students with the highest of technology needed to cover a national election.

The students will be taking part in what’s known as “MI First Election,” during which they cover nearly every aspect of the election, from township boards to ballot proposals all the way up to the presidential race.

The Election Day coverage will be added to the stories on election issues and events that students have been reporting and posting since early spring.

“There will be more than 250 students and faculty participating in coverage from 7 a.m. to midnight or as late as needed, but not all of them will be in that room,” said Lucinda Davenport, director of the MSU School of Journalism. “They will be reporting and filing stories and doing social media from polling places and clerks’ offices and campaign headquarters, covering the story like any other journalist.”

Two of the news packages are produced in conjunction with WKAR and live cut-ins will be aired on the MSU public broadcasting affiliate. Other stories may be shared with Detroit Public Television.

The first MI First Election event was in 2012 and is especially designed for first-time voters – youth who are now of age and new U.S. citizens who are now eligible.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to do something that won’t come along for another four years,” said Troy Hale, a J-School faculty member who helped develop and oversees MI First Election. “They get practical experience and they learn more about the democratic process.”

The new space will include all of the technology that real-world journalists employ, and then some. There will be space for writers to write, editors to edit and designers to design. Broadcast journalists will record and file stories, and produce radio and TV news shows throughout the day.

Among the new technologies are motion-capture, virtual reality, animation and augmented-content equipment, all of which help news consumers literally be a part of the story.

The Newsroom will provide one large space for students to work together to produce news stories, and its state-of-the-art equipment will further highlight MSU’s School of Journalism as an international, cutting-edge program.

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