It's time to ramble on…

The thoughts of a young journalist in southeastern Michigan

Election night 2010 from Bay City

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I haven’t written an update here in longer than I’d like. I’m hoping to buck that trend here soon, and I’m hoping this post does so.

The Bay City Times building in downtown Bay City on Adams Street. Yes, they already have their Christmas decorations up.

I’ve been here in Bay City since the end of August, and have gotten a big dose of Internet reality. Because The Bay City Times does not print every day anymore, the Web is the most important factor when publishing news. It’s been a newsroom dynamic I’ve been more than happy to participate in, as I’ve enjoyed seeing a digital focus.

That focus was extremely prevalent election night. Because The Times doesn’t print a Wednesday edition, we were able to focus exclusively on delivering online content throughout the night.

My responsibilities were vastly different than my primary night coverage in Grand Rapids. Here, I was assigned several races to cover and monitor, an actual first for me (my time at Central Michigan Life during elections was spent as an editor, directing reporters and looking over content). During the night, I met and spoke with Bay County Library System users about a millage renewal on the ballot, attended their viewing party and watched as they celebrated its passage.

My top priority that evening were two major political races: the 1st Congressional District, which spans Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and dips down into northern and western Bay County, and the Michigan 31st Senate District, which covers Arenac and Bay counties, as well as Michigan’s Thumb. Because of our local mentality, the Senate race, between a Bay City state representative and a former representative from the Thumb, was one of the most watched and was a heated race all the way through election night.

Every time something would happen though, it was online. Our site was filled with election posts from all over the county, including about 10 from myself. Once it was seen that the Republican would win the Senate race, I shot him a call, talked to him about his victory, and posted it. Afterwards, I called the local state rep. that was defeated and wrote up a separate post with his comments on the race, while linking back to the original post with the winner. Through a thread of posts, I was able to link the reader back to the original post, providing the news.

Once 10 posts and a print story for Thursday was complete, I departed the newsroom at 3

My desk circa 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning of election night. I think I'm still recovering, and it's Sunday.

a.m. Election night has always been one of my favorite nights (I still remember watching Tim Russert during presidential election season with his whiteboard on NBC when I was younger), and I was happy to partake.

The model though, was significantly different than any I’ve worked in before, and was, in my young opinion, an improvement. The constant posting online allows readers to absorb shorter bits of info, which can be easier to digest when they are searching in real-time for results on a night like election night. Of course, not being constrained to print deadlines make it all the better as well.

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Written by David Veselenak

November 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

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