AUTV 20 prepares for live election coverage



Nathan Langdon and his team created this logo to appear on air during the live election.


While focus is set on the national election, local candidates and ballot issues are becoming more and more important. As college students are now of age to vote, paying attention to who candidates are and what they stand for can make for a lot of research.

The Journalism and Digital Media department (JDM) is prepared for the election.

AUTV 20 is just one of the media dedicated to bringing its viewers all of the information needed to keep up with results throughout election night with their show Election 20.

On Nov. 3, JDM students will present a five-hour live show, from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m, and can be viewed on AUTV 20 (channel 20 on Armstrong) and the JDM streaming channel (which will be uploaded on AU-Live) and listened to on 88.9 WRDL.

One JDM class is in charge of producing and talent, while two other JDM classes are in charge of crewing.

This show will consist of live results from the local elections all the way up to the national election.

There are multiple components that will be running with the live show: social media, live updates to AU-Live, a reporter checking in from the Ashbrook Watch Party and radio coverage.

Preparation during the coronavirus meant change in regards to interviews and two debates. However, interviews that have already been completed can now be viewed on AU-Live, as well as articles to match the recorded interviews.

To adhere to COVID protocols, there have been two teams set for the night. This way, there will not be more than the maximum number of people allowed in the JDM department.

Another crucial part of Election 20 has been the generous help of the history and political science department of the Ashbrook Center. Professors have been interviewed and students will be interviewed on election night.

JDM is grateful to have three Ashbrook scholars, all of whom have important role that night, including producing the Ashbrook Watch Party segment, helping talent with their understanding of politics and producing interviews and debates.

This year, a unique element are the two main talent who usually serve as sports talent, one is even the sports producer of AUTV 20, and the other is sports editor of The Collegian.

“This talent has been a lot different than any other show I have been a part of,” junior Lewis Markham, digital media production major, said. “There is a lot more work involved in a five-hour live television show than a three-minute sports break…As an anchor, my job is to add color and give the audience insight on what everything means.”

Senior Jordann Lopata, digital media production major with a digital media journalism minor, also feels that preparing to report news is something that she has needed to spend time learning how to do.

“Sports comes to me a lot easier, and to break into an intense show on news is a lot of work,” Lopata said. “I do like working with other people to create the scripts and things like that. It definitely is different than being just sports because there is a lot more that you have to worry about.”

Another factor that has been worked into this year’s election show is the power of polls. A poll was put out by AUTV-20’s social media and AU-Live’s social media accounts, asking voting and policy questions.

Questions on the poll include healthcare, gun rights and the debates. Polls close on Nov. 2 at 10 p.m.

“So, prior to the start [of the show], we will be analyzing our data that we have collected to understand what citizens are interested in,” junior Chante Rutherford, digital media production major and head of the social media team, said. “The social media team will then start a livestream: this will include talks about our guests we will have on, the experience we’ve had going through the class’ process and we will be including [our reporter at the Watch Party].”

Viewers will know what the reporter looks like by his graphic, which is being run by a team of three. Nathan Langdon, junior double major in fine arts and digital media production, is the head of that team.

“Being in charge of graphics while also overseeing multiple other people presented a unique challenge for me personally…the fact that the vision changed and evolved over time as the other teams began ironing out different details of the show,” Langdon said. “So our team had to be very flexible as well.”

General manager of WRDL and adjunct faculty member, Derek Wood, will be overseeing the radio’s simulcast of AUTV 20. Two students will be running the show at the radio station, as well as the Comrex that will be used for the Watch Party.

Exclusive content will be added into WRDL’s broadcast.

“WRDL has a studio remodel, so the technical difficulties that we woud have in ‘16 are nonexistsant now, just because the equipment is newer, there’s less walls to deal with so we’re not running as much cable,” Woods said. “Much easier access for TV-20 for us, much easier access for us to TV-20.”

John Skrada, director of operations and broadcasting, has been working with every single producer and graphics member to set up all of the technology that will be needed throughout the night. He has also set up the technology needed between WRDL and AUTV 20.

This election show has produced hard-working students who have found jobs right out of AU, and even work at known-name companies.

Dr. Dave McCoy, associate professor and chair of the Journalism and Digital Media department, will be overseeing the entire night.

“The anchor from the 2012 program is now the Coordinating Producer of E-Sports for ESPN,” McCoy said. “The director from 2012 owns a video production company. The co-anchors from the 2016 telecast are now both anchors for television stations and the director works for a television station in San Diego.”

Be on the lookout for more interviews and articles to prepare you for what will be a night to remember.