Election Day Project: A Look Back

Election Night was a huge success for the major cable and news networks, prompting millions of Americans to watch their in-depth coverage. This jump in ratings occurs every four years, but at Marist College, there was another medium receiving some attention.

The Journalism II class, taught by Professor Lyn Lepre, spent Election Night doing live blogging through wordpress.com. The students, who had been writing weekly articles for the newsletter, The River Reporter, were able to post up-to-the-minute news and opinions to the blog for everyone to see. With some saying the internet is taking over journalism, this project gave students a glimpse of what they might be doing once they graduate from Marist.

What made this project even more unique was that those who viewed these blogs could leave comments on the story, either letting the student know how good their post was or leaving an opinion of their own.

“The blog…provided us with an outlet for feedback, something that is significant to the communication process, especially as journalists,” said Marist junior Alexandra D’Ercole.

There was quite a bit of feedback on these posts, with most receiving at least one comment from a fellow student, a friend, or even a parent.

In order to reach out to other students at Marist College and all over the United States, Karlie Joseph, one of the editors of the project, created a public Facebook event advertising the project. With the help of fellow editors Kate Budzinski and Deanna Gillen, over 1,300 people were invited to view the blogs. On top of that, professors, the families of students, and even residents of the City of Poughkeepsie were reported to have read the posts.

“This…really helped [make more people] aware of our class and The River Reporter,” said Journalism major Jason Migne.

The students also had the ability to post pictures and videos from YouTube or elsewhere in their updates. Some said they had difficulty in doing so, but those who discovered how to used lots of visual media to make their posts more interactive.

By blogging, not only can students save paper and ink cartridges, but they can also post stories quickly, breaking the news while it’s hot.

“I enjoyed the fact that, every thirty minutes, there was something new to read about and it was current….This is unlike our newspapers (the print version of The River Reporter) because we don’t usually get to see the paper until a couple days after we’ve written it, which makes our stories less timely,” said Migne.

Professor Lepre’s Journalism II class primarily covered politics this semester due to the monumental election. Students were assigned beats such as: “Democrat First Families”, “Republican Health Care”, and other specialized topics. With the election season over, however, and the semester only a few weeks away from ending, some wonder about how the next class will work.

“It will be interesting to see what the next class covers because we were fortunate enough to take this class in the midst of a presidential election year,” said Marist College senior Mike Muschiano.

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