On election night, a spirited 40-member student crew at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) will present WCSU’s 10th annual “Election Connection” production providing comprehensive election coverage and exploration of important issues.
On Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 8 p.m. to midnight, an exclusively student anchor team will host this year’s production with up-to-the-minute coverage of the presidential, congressional and Connecticut General Assembly races and discussions of important issues facing Americans today.
Since 2011, “Election Connection” has provided election night coverage of news and results from national, state and local contests, featuring an anchor team of student, faculty and expert commentators
Candidates are invited to participate in live interviews during the show. A new feature will be a live post-election show on Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Both shows will stream over the “WCSU Studio Election Connection” YouTube portal and www.wcsu.edu/live. A radio simulcast will air on WXCI-91.7 FM. Social media access is available on the Facebook page “WCSU Election Connection,” on Twitter “@ElectionCT” and on Instagram “#electionCT.”
The “Election Connection” crew kicked off its 2020 series with a live-streamed virtual debate on Oct. 5 featuring candidates in the state’s Fifth Congressional District race, which is available on YouTube.
Since its debut in November 2011, “Election Connection” has provided election night coverage of news and results from national, state and local contests, featuring an anchor team of student, faculty and expert commentators supported by student reporters covering key races and voter concerns.
Executive producer Dr. JC Barone, WCSU professor of Communication and Media Arts, observed that students participating in “Election Connection” have stayed late after class and working weekends because they are driven by a commitment to the program.
“The pandemic has placed stressors on how we usually do things, but we are meeting that challenge with much enthusiasm and a robust can-do spirit,” Barone said.
An important edge in adapting the production during the pandemic has been its unique “technology cocktail” blending a state-of-the-art 4K television studio on the WCSU Midtown campus in Danbury with video conferencing, social media and traditional media tools.
“Beyond, that, I think the core values we promote and share in ‘Election Connection’ — respect for one another’s views, teamwork, individual responsibility and a willingness to tackle novel problems — are what power us through the long hours involved and the technical challenges of producing this program,” Barone said.
Barone has drawn from his extensive professional experience to design the interdisciplinary course as a vehicle to train students in media, journalism and liberal arts for the demands of today’s job market.
“This year, I shifted to a more collaborative approach to teaching, giving students more responsibility, and they have stepped up,” Barone said. “The mixture of in-person training, online technology and peer mentoring within a demanding, high- stakes environment gives them the skills they will use beyond “Election Connection.”
The team brings together media novices and veterans, with students staffing key positions including the news director in charge of reporting teams, producers, and department chiefs.
WCSU’s “Election Connection” productions have earned honors from the National Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts, Telly Awards for Live Coverage, and a Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.
“Our goal is consistently to deliver quality programming to the community and Connecticut,” Barone said.