COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Nov. 11) – Merrill College students know they will receive real-world, hands-on experiences in journalism starting as freshmen. #Election2016 and its aftermath has – and will – provide those experiences at many different levels, from classroom to election night, the inauguration and beyond.

Teamwork Makes a Difference at Merrill

Dean Lucy Dalglish, writing to Merrill College alumni and friends, said, “We frequently tell prospective students that Merrill graduates leave UMD prepared to walk right into today’s newsrooms. That’s because – in addition to teaching foundational and technical skills – we stress teamwork. Tuesday night’s once-every-four-years opportunity illustrated the best in Merrill teamwork. By my count (for purposes of pizza calculations, if nothing else), we had at least 75 students working the election.”

CNS coverage included:

  • Michael Stern and Michelle Chavez anchored some of the CNS election night broadcasts.

    Merrill journalists Michael Stern and Michelle Chavez shared anchor duties with other CNS journalists during election night broadcasts. Photo: CNS

    CNS-TV live from the Eaton Broadcast Center in Tawes Hall throughout the evening, with live reports from Studio C in Knight Hall and from the Maryland Republican and Democratic headquarters. Our students even produced their own election night animated graphics.

  • The CNS Annapolis and DC Bureaus were based out of Studio C producing text stories for affiliates around the state and, via AP and McClatchy, the nation
  • The Digital Lab in Knight Hall produced a Facebook Live feed and provided data visualizations for our broadcast and digital efforts.
  • More than three dozen student production volunteers helped make everything “behind the scenes” work a little easier. That included students from Josh Davidsburg’s and Manny Fantis’ JOUR361 classes.
  • Three exchange students from Bournemouth University came to Knight Hall to cover the election as “Team USA.”
  • Two Merrill College students – Maggie Gottlieb and Mina Haq – traveled to London to talk with Brits and American ex-pats about the election, and they were even invited to the American ambassador’s election party at the U.S. Embassy.

Beyond CNS, many more Merrill students got great hands-on learning experiences:

  • Students from Lecturer Bethany Swain’s JOUR262 and Viewfinder classes provided support for live interviews and reports from the roof at Mobile Video Services (MVS) in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Students from Abell Professor Sandy Banisky’s classes worked the election at the Baltimore Sun.
  • A number of Merrill students worked election night as part of their internships.

Digital Bureau Director Sean Mussenden working with students in Studio C on election night. Photo: Chris Harvey.

In her note to alumni and friends, Dean Dalglish said, “We thank our donors, particularly the Richard Eaton Foundation and the Merrill Family Foundation, for the financial support that has allowed us to upgrade our facilities and programs — and allowed our students to produce nimble and professional coverage. It was those upgrades that allowed us to go live from multiple locations and allowed a few of our enterprising students to redesign the graphics on our newscast.”

She also thanked all the faculty and staff members who, “worked together so that our students could have an unparalleled election night experience. Thank you to Sue Kopen Katcef, Jim Carroll, Sean Mussenden, Karen Denny, Brooke Auxier, Tom Bettag, Cindy Wright, Josh Davidsburg, Jon Sham, Chris Harvey, April Newton, Al Perry and Dave Ottalini. (And some faculty members I’m undoubtedly leaving out. Apologies.)”

“I hope you’re as proud as I am of Merrill College,” she wrote. “It has been a privilege to watch the newest generation of political reporters cover their first election.”

Our Storify brings together Merrill College student’s coverage of #Election2016 starting with early voting and moving through election night: