Posted November 7, 2016

Students cover election live on the frontlines

Dozens of Temple students will get real-world experience reporting on the election from Philadelphia, Los Angeles and London.

Students in a TV studio preparing to shoot a news segment.
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
Students in the School of Media and Communication are using their skills to report on the outcomes of the 2016 presidential election.

Dozens of Temple students in the School of Media and Communication are getting hands-on experience with live Election Day media coverage. The students—who range from freshmen to seniors—have spent months preparing to report on one of the most unconventional elections in U.S. history.

Temple Update, a weekly 30-minute news program produced by a staff of student volunteers and the TV News Production Practicum class, covers a range of news stories in Philadelphia and around the world. On election night, these students will play key roles in the production of the show, from anchoring the news desk and reporting to behind-the-scenes duties like live-shot producing, graphics, research and social media.

Taggart Houck, a senior studying journalism, has been assigned to report live from Sen. Pat Toomey's election night party in Breinigsville, Pennsylvania. He sees the broadcast as a chance to reach a wide Temple audience.

“We're excited to have the opportunity to tell our fellow students at Temple their political election news first, on a live platform,” he said.

Other student reporters will be traveling to different locations throughout the night and reporting live from polling locations.

Kelly Antonacci, a junior communications studies major, will be the main roving reporter. She plans to be at Donald Trump’s headquarters in South Philadelphia and polling booths around the city.

Students studying outside of Pennsylvania will also have the opportunity to report on the election.

Joe McHugh and Erin Patterson will both be reporting from Los Angeles, where they are participating in a study-away program. The duo is “ecstatic for the opportunity to cover such a major election from the other side of the country for Temple Update.” They will be broadcasting live from polling locations in downtown Los Angeles, where polls remain open three hours later than those in Philadelphia.

While students are reporting and tasked with different assignments, Assistant Professor Peter Jaroff will be helping to run the show behind the scenes as the executive producer.

“This is a completely different experience for students,” Jaroff said. “After the first ‘cut-in’ of the night, our election-night reports will be almost completely unscripted. They'll be formatting each new report on the fly. It takes a lot of energy and focus to make it work right, but when it does, it can be an exhilarating experience.”

Student-produced election coverage begins airing at 8 p.m. on TUTV (Comcast channel 50 and Verizon channel 45 within Philadelphia city limits).