WCSU students, faculty to present live election-night TV coverage
Western crew to produce Charter Communications Nov. 5 broadcast of area election results
DANBURY, CONN. — Television viewers across western Connecticut will receive live coverage of city and town election results provided by a crew of more than 40 Western Connecticut State University students and faculty members who will present a three-hour broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, from the Charter Communications Cable Access Studio in Newtown.
Coordinated by executive producer Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of communication and media arts at WCSU, “Election Connection 2013” will bring together a team of five anchors delivering up-to-the-minute coverage of municipal election results from 17 western Connecticut cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The broadcast, airing from 8 to 11 p.m. on the Charter network’s CommunityVision Channel 21, also will feature reports by WCSU students from seven field locations across the region.
A radio simulcast of the program will air on WXCI-FM (91.7), with live Web streaming of the broadcast provided at www.wcsu.edu/live and www.wxci.org. Viewers will be invited to participate directly in coverage by sending tweets on Twitter that will be presented in social media reports during the broadcast.
Election results will be updated throughout the evening for Danbury and 16 other communities in western Connecticut including Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Kent, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Trumbull, Washington and Woodbury.
“Our goal is to provide residents of our region with information that they are not getting anywhere else through continuous live televised coverage, and to contribute to raising civic awareness on campus and in the community,” Barone said. He observed that Western students participating in the production also gain valuable experiential learning that will prepare them for advanced studies and future careers.
WCSU anchors for the election-night program will include two Department of Communication and Media Arts faculty members, Assistant Professor Dr. Jay Brower and Adjunct Professor Dr. Jacqueline Guzda. They will be joined at the anchor desk by WCSU Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Matthew Dabros; Western political science major Corey Paris, of Brookfield, president of the Student Government Association; and attorney James Bellano, former City of Danbury economic development director who also has taught at WCSU. Barone said the anchor team “will provide diverse viewpoints and insights into the races and issues important to western Connecticut.”
Two new features of this year’s program will be an in-studio focus group discussion of election-related topics during the evening and a social media segment dedicated to surveying and reporting Twitter tweets of interest on local issues, candidates and contests. The focus group drawn from the university and area communities will be hosted by WCSU communication and media arts major Ashley Leach, a New Fairfield resident selected in 2012 as Miss Connecticut USA. Survey and analysis for the social media segment will be coordinated by WCSU Adjunct Professor of Communication Tom Zarecki with assistance from Stephen Colon, Jessica Ann Catena, Mimi Kelly, Al Kessler and Cassandra McCarthy.
Western students will be able to view the live broadcast on large screens during an “Election Connection Watch Party” to be held on election night in the Westside Campus Center Grand Ballroom on the university’s Westside campus in Danbury. The party is sponsored by the WCSU Student Government Association. Social media access also will be available on Facebook at “WCSU Election Connection” and on Twitter at “@ElectConnect13.”
“Election Connection 2013” marks the third consecutive year that WCSU has collaborated with Charter Communications to provide real-time coverage on election night of voting results from municipalities in western Connecticut. This year’s production has been organized as part of the COM 398 “Live News Broadcasting” class in the WCSU communication/media arts curriculum. Western students participating in the program will assume key roles ranging from studio producers, anchors and technical staff to field reporters and social media analysts.
Producers Siobhan Ryan, of Danbury, and Andy Caruso, of Monroe, have worked this summer and fall with Barone, technical support staff from Charter Communications and the Information Technology and Innovation department at Western, and student members of the production team to prepare the complex communication infrastructure required for the multi-media presentation. “It’s been a challenge not just to get up to speed with the technology and the programs we work with, but also to find new ways to put these tools to use,” said Ryan, who plans to pursue a career in movie editing. Both Ryan and Caurso are communication and media arts majors at Western.
“The task we have put before them is gargantuan,” Barone observed. “We are tackling layers and layers of visual and audio tasks, and we’re doing it in a professional and innovative way that gives the program the look of a cable news network show.”
Western’s election-night productions over the past two years have drawn praise from professional organizations in the communications field. “Election Connection 2012” garnered two national awards recognizing excellence in programming and innovation in the use of information technology, including selection as a bronze winner in the 34th annual Telly Awards and as recipient of the Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts. “Our challenge now is to deliver the same high level of quality programming year after year,” Barone remarked. “We have accepted that challenge.”
Barone attributed the success of the annual election-night production to the support of Department of Communication and Media Arts Chair Dr. Katy Wiss, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Missy Alexander, and Information Technology and Innovation technical staff at WCSU, working in collaboration with Charter Communications. He also expressed gratitude to WCSU Director of Administrative Services Mark Case for assistance with administrative arrangements, and Professor of Theatre Arts Elizabeth Popiel for designing the “Election Connection” set.
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486 or contact Barone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.