For a group of Lafayette students, this won’t just be the first presidential election they vote in; it will also be the first one they cover.

They will broadcast live from campus as the results roll in, providing the latest information, analysis, and commentary on the presidential and congressional races. The production will run from 9-11 p.m. Nov. 8 on PBS39/WLVT, the affiliate in the Lehigh Valley.

The election coverage will be the culmination of months of preparation from students representing the full spectrum of Lafayette’s areas of study. The students have researched the issues and candidates, written scripts, prepared storyboards, and had extensive training behind and in front of the camera.

Along with the live on-air action, the students have been preparing several pre-taped segments that will run during the broadcast. The segments include interviews with local and regional politicians and experts and will focus on: the role of social media geo-targeting in campaigns, how this election will affect local business, voter participation among college-age people, the future of the Supreme Court, and the Affordable Care Act.

Here are some behind the scenes interviews with students.

Luis Espinal '17

Segment Producer, Economics

Our segment focuses on how local business owners will be affected by the outcome of this election. My barber [in Easton] came to mind because he’s a staple of the community. What we found is they are concerned and uncertain about how proposed policy changes are going to impact them. Putting on a broadcast like this has a lot of moving parts. I’ve gotten a lot better at being able to talk to and connect with people.

Elise Evinski '20

Segment Producer, Engineering

We focused on how the increasing ubiquity of social media has helped politicians advance their campaigns as well as how individuals from different generations have or have not adapted to social media as a way to stay informed. This project had to be completed in a short amount of time, so time management was big. We all had to buckle down and do our best to finish everything while still making sure the packages came out nicely.

Frankie Illuzzi '18

Co-anchor, Government and Law

Our job is to provide a consistent balance throughout the broadcast. We send the viewer back and forth between a variety of the desks, segments, and the bullpen. I'm interested in politics, and I can tell you from being on this campus that people are really passionate about this election. It’s a big deal that there are young people making an impact.

Rachel Robertson '18

Student Producer, International Affairs and Policy Studies

My role is an all-encompassing one. I'm in charge of making sure the details for the night are all in place. Are our analysts, the bullpen, and the political desk prepared and comfortable? Are the pre-taped and live packages ready to go on time? The biggest skill I've learned is how to work with a team and divide the work among people.

Kat Stevens '17

Co-anchor, Economics

We've had weekly training to prepare. We’re working with all the moving parts-the results desk, the analysts-to make sure we’re prepared for anything that happens on election night. Knowing as much as possible about the candidates and how other students feel about the election has been a rewarding experience

Karla Talley '18

Results Anchor, Government and Law

I will be giving live updates on who has won which states in the presidential, senate, and house elections. We’ve been going over how the states could turn out and which candidates might win which states and playing over the possible scenarios. I've worked with students coming from a lot of different backgrounds, and being able to collaborate and make this a reality has been a really awesome experience.

This is now the fourth year of partnership between Lafayette and PBS39, which began through the efforts of Professors Nicole Crain and Mark Crain, co-executive producers of the 2016 election broadcast. They also produce Lafayette Lens on PBS39, a half-hour student-run news magazine that explores issues of global importance from the perspectives of tomorrow’s leaders.

1 Comment

  1. Matthew Koos says:

    Glad to see this wonderful tradition continue at Lafayette College. It’s opportunities like this that make liberal arts schools, Lafayette above all, stand out. To all those involved with the production, have fun!

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