Journalism students tackle real-time election coverage

Nov. 3, 2008

by Dennis Chaptman

As a history-making race for the White House enters its final hours, a group of journalism students are busy crafting pre-election coverage and preparing to cover Election Day with a campus bent.

About 13 students in Pat Hastings' Intermediate Reporting class will get hands-on experience in reporting, editing and Web design as they work to cover the race between John McCain and Barack Obama. During the last two years, students provided coverage of the Halloween celebration in downtown Madison, but this fall's election provided a change-up.

"We have the opportunity to cover a presidential election, so the students are analyzing the many stories in this campaign and telling them in different ways," Hastings says. "It gives them a chance to look at the issues in depth and challenges them with a deadline-based lesson in news coverage."

Hastings says students will look at the election from a campus perspective, but with an eye toward the national issues and significance of the race.

Student articles are expected to run the gamut from profiles of student political workers, the effect of negative campaign advertising, to absentee voting by students. The project also involves the production of opinion pieces, video and audio reports and an online survey.

Election and post-election coverage is expected to be added during the course of the week.