WCSU students, faculty to present live election night TV coverage
Western crew to broadcast Nov. 4 election results on Charter and AT&T U-verse channels
DANBURY, CONN. — Television viewers across western Connecticut will receive live coverage of state and congressional election results provided by a crew of more than 60 Western Connecticut State University students and faculty members who will present a three-hour broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, from the Charter Communications Cable Access Studio in Newtown.
“Election Connection” will air from 8 to 11 p.m. on the Charter cable network’s Channel 192 and on AT&T U-verse Channel 99. Coordinated by executive producer Dr. JC Barone, associate professor of communication and media arts at WCSU, the broadcast will feature a team of four anchors delivering up-to-the-minute coverage of election results for the congressional, gubernatorial and other state office contests from 17 western Connecticut cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The program also will provide analysis of polling numbers and reports by WCSU students from six 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 calling in live with their comments at (203) 270-3821 or 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.”
Coverage will focus in particular on local results for the gubernatorial race between Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republican candidate Tom Foley and independent Joe Visconti, and the Fifth Congressional District contest between Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty and Republican challenger Mark Greenberg. Election results will be updated throughout the evening for Danbury and 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.
The 2014 broadcast will mark the fourth year that WCSU students and faculty have collaborated with Charter Communications to produce continuous live televised coverage on election night of voting results in the western Connecticut region. Barone observed that a new feature in this year’s production will be a collaboration to share information with the Connecticut Network (CT-N) in coverage of state and congressional elections throughout election night.
“CT-N reached out to us because they had heard how successful ‘Election Connection’ has been in our past coverage,” Barone said. “Our goal is to provide a great public service in a timely and accurate way.”
WCSU anchors for the program will include two Department of Communication and Media Arts faculty members, Associate Professor Dr. D.L. Stephenson and Adjunct Professor Dr. Jacqueline Guzda. They will be joined at the anchor desk by Western communication and media arts major Alec Kessler, of Ridgefield, and attorney James Bellano, former City of Danbury economic development director. Communication and media arts major Patrick Higgins, of Torrington, will provide analysis of polling numbers, while student correspondents will provide reports from the Office of the Secretary of the State in Hartford as well as candidate headquarters for key congressional and state races.
Co-producers for the program will be WCSU students Siobhan Ryan, of Danbury, who also will serve as director, and Nick Skowronski, of Watertown. Faculty advisers for the production are Barone and Tom Zarecki, adjunct professor of communication and media arts. WCSU 2012 graduate Brittany Nisco will serve as visiting producer. “It’s a hands-on learning experience,” Ryan remarked. “This is where the stakes are the highest — you’re broadcasting live and you have to get things right the first time.”
Western students are participating in the production as part of fall semester courses in “Live News and Election Coverage” and “Fundamentals of Radio Production,” and represent a wide range of academic disciplines. In addition to undergraduates majoring in media arts or communication, approximately one-quarter of students participating are pursuing degrees in other fields including political science, theatre arts, writing, history, interactive marketing, psychology, accounting , education, computer science and meteorology.
Special reports by students that will air during the broadcast will address a wide range of policy and electoral issues including gun rights and gun violence, education, Internet neutrality and privacy concerns, sexual assault, foreign affairs, and Supreme Court decisions impacting campaign funding and the Affordable Care Act.
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. The party will be sponsored by the National Broadcasting Society at WCSU.
Western’s election-night productions have consistently earned honors from professional organizations in the communications field. Most recently, “Election Connection” and Barone received recognition as recipient of a 2013 Telly Award and of the Communicator Award of Distinction from the International Academy of the Visual Arts. Charter Communications also received a Beacon Award in part for its “Election Connection” collaboration with WCSU as a means to provide Western students with an experiential learning opportunity and access to advanced production equipment in a professional broadcasting studio.
Barone attributed the success of the annual election-night production to the support of Department of Communication and Media Arts Co-Chairs Dr. Katy Wiss and Karen Saunders, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Missy Alexander, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jane McBride Gates and President James Schmotter. He expressed special thanks to the Information Technology and Innovation staff at WCSU for its technical support and to longtime “Election Connection” collaborator Tammy McVey-Camilleri for continuing support in training students in interviewing skills. He also noted the Western team has enjoyed a strong collaborative relationship with Charter Communications staff including Greg Van Antwerp, Franny Hannigan, Mark Ingram and Megan Irwin. “Without the contributions of everyone, we couldn’t do this program,” Barone noted.
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.