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Student journalists from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication provided multimedia coverage of the 2012 elections Tuesday for audiences across Arizona.
Cronkite students reported on local and state elections and the presidential election for a variety of news outlets, including Cronkite News Service, the school’s multimedia news service for professional news outlets around the region, and Cronkite NewsWatch, a live, 30-minute, student-produced newscast airing on PBS four nights a week.
The students’ Election Day coverage included live election results as well as candidate and voter reaction. Cronkite News Service provided up-to-the-minute coverage on its website, cronkitenewsonline.com, while Cronkite NewsWatch broadcast a live two-hour special on Eight, Arizona PBS.
In the months leading up to the election, students reported on a wide range of election-related issues, including early voting, poll watching, voter fraud and campaign spending. Students also provided coverage of Arizona’s numerous ballot propositions.
Steve Elliott, digital director of Cronkite News Service, said he was “immensely pleased” with what the students accomplished.
“I’d put (the Cronkite News Service coverage) up against any professional newsroom’s in Arizona,” Elliott said.
As Cronkite students reported on the elections, students from across ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus gathered in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum to watch the returns on the school’s big-screen TV.
The Cronkite School also hosted a group of international journalists on Election Day. Seventeen journalists from sub-Saharan Africa visited the school as part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, which brings emerging international journalists to the U.S. to observe firsthand American civic life and how local and national news media cover politics and government.
The visiting journalists participated in a three-day seminar about elections and the media and heard from Cronkite faculty on topics ranging from the polling process to key issues and races in Arizona. On Election Day, they observed newsroom operations at Cronkite and accompanied students as they reported from the field.
In addition, three international journalists from the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at Cronkite, which brings accomplished mid-career journalists from designated countries to the U.S. for a 10-month intensive academic study and professional experience, covered the presidential election for news organizations in their home countries. Nikiwe Bikitsha reported for South Africa’s eNews Channel, Fatima Talib for Pakistan’s Express News Channel and Branko Veselinovic for Serbian National TV.
In Washington, Leonard Downie Jr., Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism and former executive editor of The Washington Post, returned to the Post to help lead the publication’s election coverage. Downie ran the Post’s election night decision desk, calling the presidential and Senate elections in approximately 20 key states that decided the presidency and control of the Senate. He worked with the Post’s polling unit, political reporters and social media team as well as student volunteers, including two Cronkite students.