United States Elections are News Projects

Media coverage of the US electoral process must evolve. For decades news operations searched for elections reporting technology to gain competitive edge and handle irregular tasks. The perfect election software or system has yet to be developed. Many United States newsrooms use LeaderPlus or vizrt. I’m agnostic regarding the leading systems. The cost disparity, as well as functionality, between the two is huge. There are freelance professionals who configure and manage the systems. Usually those professionals are skilled in technology. Civics is rarely part of their repertoire.

I’m a certified LeaderPlus systems administrator and knowledgeable about vizrt. In my opinion LeaderPlus excels at wires ingest however vizrt graphics really pop. Every operation has issues with the Associated Press wire service and Secretaries of State offices; two main sources of election results in the US.

This is a mid-term election year in the States. There are primaries, and in some states even special primaries, before the November 2nd Election Day. The California Secretary of State provides dates for the Golden State and so does South Carolina for The Palmetto State. Such is the case with each state. November’s date is a legislative election and Project Vote Smart offers information on candidates same as CQ-Roll Call Group. It is the Secretaries of State offices that are true election repositories.

Election Projection displays the year’s important electoral dates on a calendar. The calendar is important. News departments ideally begin working with elections coverage technology six months prior to Election Day. Few comply with vendor’s requests for a comfortable process. Many already fell behind readying for primary coverage.

Newsrooms usually handle the civics side and engineering and operations the technical setup. The two departments must work in concert to win on election night. Keeping editorial and technical workers on a timeline for smooth election night reporting is project management. Each election season has a beginning and end –the day after the election – so elections coverage agrees with the definition of project. Project management for elections coverage is evolution required for success in my opinion.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing gazes into the ABC News crystal ball to glimpse the future of television news.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

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