WCSU students, faculty to present live election night TV coverage
Western crew to broadcast Nov. 3 local election results on Charter and Frontier channels
DANBURY, CONN. — Television viewers across western Connecticut will receive live coverage of municipal election results provided by a crew of more than 50 Western Connecticut State University students and faculty members who will present a three-hour broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, from the newly built high-definition TV broadcasting studio on the university’s Midtown campus in Danbury.
“Election Connection” will air from 8 to 11 p.m. on the Charter cable network’s Channel 192 and on Frontier Channel 99, where the live broadcast will appear on the “Newtown community access” link. Coordinated by executive producer Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of communication and media arts at WCSU, the broadcast will feature a team of six anchors delivering up-to-the-minute coverage of election results for municipal offices contested in 20 western Connecticut cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The program also will provide reports by WCSU students from field locations across the region, as well as analyses of major political and social issues that will impact the state and national election landscape in 2016.
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 at “@ElectionCT” that will be presented in social media reports during the broadcast. Information on the program also is available on Facebook at “WCSU Election Connection.”
Election coverage will focus on contested mayoral and first selectman races in the region. Election results will be tracked in Danbury, New Britain and other municipalities including Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Kent, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Trumbull, Washington and Woodbury.
The 2015 broadcast will mark the fifth year that WCSU students and faculty have collaborated to produce continuous live televised coverage on election night of voting results in the western Connecticut region. Barone observed that this year’s production also marks the first to be produced in the high-definition TV broadcasting studio built and equipped this year in Higgins Annex on the university’s Midtown campus, complete with control room, audio and lighting equipment, green screens and an anchor desk with a curved granite top previously used in the university library reference department.
“One of the best things about ‘Election Connection’ is that the students do most of the work, from putting the studio and equipment together to preparing reports for broadcast,” Barone said. “It will be a very exciting year, and nobody will be covering the elections as we do.” He emphasized that policy issue reports prepared by student participants in the broadcast will cover hot-button political issues ranging from privacy vs. technology, immigration, race relations and gun control to climate change, poverty, drugs and abortion. “We’re not shying away from controversy,” he said. “Our goal is to present issues in a balanced and informative way.”
WCSU anchors for the program will include two faculty members from the Department of History and Non-Western Cultures, Associate Professors Dr. Kevin Gutzman and Dr. Leslie Lindenauer; and two faculty members from the Department of Communication and Media Arts, Associate Professor Dr. D.L. Stephenson and Adjunct Professor Dr. Jacqueline Guzda. They will be joined at the anchor desk by Western students Robert Shaw, of Danbury, and Hannah Stewart, of Bethel. Student correspondents will provide reports from several field locations of contested races as well as Hartford and the “Election Connection” viewing party on the university’s Westside campus. The introduction of JVC cameras in the field this year will provide the flexibility to broadcast field reports either live or taped and downloaded for later broadcast.
Producers for this year’s program will be WCSU students John Murray, of Brookfield; Tatum Hamernik, of Bristol; and Carrie Gottleib, of Newtown. Western students are participating in the production as part of fall semester courses in “Live News and Election Coverage,” taught by Barone; and “Fundamentals of Radio Production,” taught by Tom Zarecki, adjunct professor of communication and media arts. Murray observed that one of the production team’s top priorities in working with first-time student participants in “Election Connection has been “to make sure everyone is assigned to the right job, knows how to use the equipment, and understands what it takes to do interviews on camera.”
A special viewing of the live broadcast on large screens will be offered at an “Election Connection” party to be held on election night in the Westside Campus Center Grand Ballroom on the university’s Westside campus in Danbury. The Ballroom event also will serve as the hub for “Election Connection” social media coverage during the evening.
Western’s “Election Connection” productions have consistently earned honors from professional organizations in the communications field. The most recent “Election Connection” broadcast and Barone received first place in the category of Studio Multi-Camera Production at the Festival of Media Arts, chosen from a field of more than 1,300 submissions from colleges nationwide in festival competition. The production also earned a nomination for 2015 regional student honors in the prestigious National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awards competition. Previous recognitions include a 2013 Telly Award for Live Coverage and a 2013 Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts.
Barone said that important contributions to the success of the annual election-night production have been made by the continuing collaboration since the debut of “Election Connection” with Charter Communications in Newtown and the support received each year from the Department of Communication and Media Arts, headed by Department of Communication and Media Arts Co-Chairs Dr. Katy Wiss and Karen Saunders. He cited the strong commitment to the project by WCSU administrators including Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Missy Alexander, who facilitated construction this year of the new Higgins Hall broadcasting studio on the Midtown campus. He also noted essential technical support for the project from audio engineer Pat Carlone at WXCI-FM, and Rebecca Woodward, director of Media Services and Academic Computing, as well as university staff at Media Services, Information Technology and Innovation, and the Department of Theatre Arts.
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486 or contact Barone at email@example.com.
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.