Fearless journalism covering the election from the U.S. and England.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Nov. 7) – Merrill College’s student-powered news service – Capital News Service (CNS) – is ready for Election Day 2016.

All five news bureaus  – in Annapolis, Washington, D.C. and College Park – are participating in the most ambitious coverage plans in CNS history, which includes sending two Merrill journalists to London to cover the election there in wake of the Brexit vote.

All reporting will be centrally hosted on the CNS website and social media channels. Print and broadcast stories, as well as graphics will be distributed to CNS clients in the DMV and via the Associated Press and McClatchy news services.

Digital and Social Media Coverage

A centerpiece of the CNS digital coverage will be a special night-long Facebook Live show incorporating journalists from all bureaus. CNS Digital Bureau Director Sean Mussenden said the coverage is, “designed to take unique advantage of the social platform, build around a unique ‘bobblehead board game’ that will be played live as election results come in.”


CNS will use bobbleheads of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as part of a board game to keep track of their progress towards 270 electoral votes. Photo: CNS

Complete coverage plans include:

  • CNS multi-platform reporters will be interviewing voters at selected polling places from Baltimore to Montgomery County and covering the elections from the RNC/DNC election headquarters as well as covering an on-campus Maryland election event.
  • As part of that coverage, students will be writing text stories with photos for the CNS website and contributing to a live blog as well as contributing material on social media;
  • Coverage includes the use of Periscope for live interviews with voters from their polling places.
  • From 8 p.m. to 12:15 p.m. or so, CNS reporters will be live from Studio C in Knight Hall using Facebook Live on the CNS Facebook page;
  • CNS Data journalists will be in Studio C analyzing exit poll results and building graphics;
  • CNS social journalists in Studio C will be aggregating user-generated content from across the state into social stories;
  • There will be an automated page of election results taken from the board of election website;
  • There are plans to produce 360 video from GOP and Democratic election night headquarters;
  • The CNS Digital Bureau is building a Facebook messenger chatbot designed to give users election results.

Broadcast Coverage

CNS Election Graphic.CNS’s Maryland Newsline will broadcast its regular news program at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on UMTV, as well as live-streamed in HD on the CNS YouTube channel. From 8 p.m. on to midnight, there will be five to ten minute live news cut-ins at the top and bottom of the hour. At midnight, Maryland Newsline will return for a special election night news program. There will be live reports from both the Democratic and Republican election headquarters as part of the coverage.

The CNS Digital Bureau and Social Media  Bureau in Knight Hall will provide graphics and other digital materials for use in the broadcast, as well as social media support to enhance the coverage. In fact, CNS Social Media Bureau editors will be part of the live coverage (from 8 p.m. through the midnight wrap-up show at the top and bottom of each hour) from Studio C in Knight Hall to talk about what the public is saying and how it’s reacting to the election results.

Not only will Maryland Newsline be broadcasting from its own Studio B in Tawes Hall and Studio C in Knight Hall, there will be live shots from both political election headquarters in Maryland.

Journalism students from Josh Davidsburg’s JOUR361 News Innovation class will also be actively involved – watching and editing pool material provided by CNN and C-SPAN for the newscasts and news inserts. Plans call to take C-SPAN live for national news when appropriate.

WBAL-TV in Baltimore will also provide material from both the GOP and Democratic election headquarters for CNS election night.

CNS London Coverage

Maggie Gottlieb and Mina Haq covered #Election2016 from London and Bournemouth University.

In a first, Merrill College students Mina Haq ’17 (CNS DC Bureau) and  Maggie Gottlieb ’17 (CNS Broadcast Bureau) will be reporting from London, England. Gottlieb will be working on a story about American ex-pats living in London, as well as the similar anti-immigrant attitudes there.

Haq will file stories about Americans studying abroad and the U.S. election and will look at why it’s taken America so long to elect a female president when Britain is already embracing its second female prime minister.

Both students will be interviewing a Brexit expert for a story about similarities/differences between the UK Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, nationalist campaign.

Tuesday coverage plans take the CNS reporters to the U.S. Embassy’s election night party in London. Plans call for an interview with U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and others at the embassy.

The trip is part of a growing relationship with Bournemouth University – which is sending three students to College Park to cover the U.S. election. Bournemouth also sent students to both political conventions this summer, working with Merrill College’s student reporters.

NEW CNS LogoHow to Follow CNS Online Election Coverage

CNS Website
CNS Facebook page (full-time Facebook Live coverage)
CNS Twitter Feed

How to Watch Maryland Newsline

Maryland Newsline is broadcast live on UMTV, Merrill College’s cable television station. UMTV is on campus channel 38 or 78. Comcast customers can watch on Channel 73 in Prince George’s County and on Channel 2 in Montgomery County. On Verizon, UMTV is on channel 40 in both counties.

Live Stream: Maryland Newsline is available in HD on the CNS YouTube channel.

ElectionWatchCNS ElectionWatch

Merrill College students in Visiting Fellow Tom Bettag’s JOUR368E class have been following the election coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC. Their insights – bolstered by a host of media professionals – has made their blog a must read. Bettag’s students will help with the CNS election night coverage as well.

Follow CNS Election Watch on Twitter: @cnselectwatch