SOU communication students got a slice of the reporter’s life, Tuesday evening.
News-editorial, video production, photojournalism and university seminar students spread out across the Rogue Valley, to cover one of the most historic elections in history. More than 50 students participated in the experiment that fed news into a student-faculty-produced Web blog based at the Rogue Valley Television station from 5 p.m. to midnight.
RVTV also ran an election coverage show anchored by communication professor Paul Steinle and Cynthia Salbado that ran from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show featured the work of video production students and interviews with a former mayor of Ashland and local candidates.
Students covered the streets of Ashland including victory parties at Standing Stone Brewery, the plaza and the SOU dorms. Others car pooled to Medford to different locations: the Jackson County Court house, Red Lion Inn and Redrock Italian Restaurant.
First-year USEM students shadowed advanced journalism students throughout the night.Freshman USEM student Tarah Owens feels she learned a lot working alongside older students and that the collaboration between students and faculty was beneficial.
“[The reporters] basically took us under their wing,” Owens said.
Owens commented that the reporting student she was with did most of the interviewing while first-year students watched and learned. Approaching strangers for interviews had been one of Owen’s fears from the outset, but watching the older students gave her a sense of what to do.
“She just kind of came up with questions at the top of her head,” Owens said.
There was also pressure from RVTV counting on news feeds as well as election results. Professor Dennis Dunleavy, who teaches Owen’s USEM class based on cyberspace and media, was highly impressed with all of his students. Dunleavy spent the evening editing incoming articles and photographs for the Web.
“We thought we bit off a lot- there was a lot to chew on,” he said. “But in the end it was something we could all swallow.”
Reporting professor Terri Martin also assisted in editing and taking incoming calls with election numbers and results from the court house.
“It was really fun to see my students out being real reporters,” Martin said. “I think they’ll probably remember this election night a long, long time.”
Senior Cynthia Edmonds was a part of Martin’s advanced reporting team that covered the election from Redrock restaurant in Medford. The location was the center for the democratic victory party. Edmonds, also a part of a three-member group that was assigned to study Lynn Howe for 30 days, felt the excitement of the gathering.
“It was kind of crazy seeing everybody celebrating,” she said. “A lot of people were happy so they were willing to talk to anybody about the fun they were having that night.”
Some difficulties arose during the night, however, the biggest being the transfer of information back to RVTV. Internet connections also proposed a problem with “spotty” connection and malfunctioning e-mail.
Edmond’s favorite part about the night was helping cover a historical event and being involved behind the scenes.
“One of the best things about [Tuesday] was I was there to see Lynn Howe’s reaction,” Edmonds said. “It was great … because my group spent so much time learning about her.”
Senior Teresa Beskow was across town at the courthouse, awaiting local election results to stream in. Beskow, a journalism major was able to witness the voting process including signature verification on all of the ballots.
“You definitely realize how many people don’t turn in their ballots on time,” Beskow said.
Her job involved capturing the results as soon as they came in and sending the data back to the RVTV station to be posted on the live blog. Her duties reached ultimate importance when the Jackson County Web site crashed, increasing pressure on SOU students to provide election numbers for the community at large.
Senior video production student, Joshua Peck spent the evening taking and processing footage for RVTV he was able to capture reactions from republicans and democrats at Standing Stone Brewery after John McCain’s concession speech.
While video footage and interviews were recorded, photojournalism students roamed election events as well, capturing the tone and mood of candidates and the party faithful.
“I think [photojournalism] students rose up to the occasion in great fashion,” Dunleavy said.
The photos provided an inside look into the election night events. To see the stories,videos and photos produced by SOU students on election night, go online to www.08vote.wordpress.com .