US 2012 Project: Editorial #4, Let the sparks fly

US 2012 election

24 hours and counting until six weeks of incredibly hard work (hopefully!) pays off. This has been a brilliantly ambitious project, and we aim to deliver. To date – in just over a week – our website has reached 16,000 hits. You can listen to our radio coverage and watch our live TV stream online here. We’ll have live guests in the studios and hourly Skype updates from our colleagues in the US.

Thank-you so much for your support with this project. We’ve already achieved some of our biggest aims; getting ourselves and others engaged with international politics, producing quality content across the mediums and securing top name interviewees to rival our broadcast competitors. This has been a landmark project for the university which the Editorial Team – myself included – are extremely proud to have had the opportunity to lead, and grateful to have had the chance to showcase the talent of our young journalist peers. If nothing else, we have made it a little more difficult for people to presume that young people and politics don’t mix. I’m happy with that.


Let the sparks fly

November 5th is my favourite night of the year. Normally, right about now, I’d be outside, cosied up in multiple layers with a nose turning pink from the cold. My eyes would be all lit up, looking to the sky.

Unexpectedly, I don’t feel like I’m missing out tonight as I wait for an entirely different show to start. In 24 hours, NewsLab will be ready to go live.

And what a difference a day makes.

Four years ago, history was made overnight. With the final swing states swung, the world woke up to the first African American President.

Last night, I found myself searching YouTube for footage of Election Day 2008. Back then, as any regular readers will have heard by now, I hadn’t learned to speak politics, I wasn’t engaged. I understood the cultural significance of what Obama’s success would mean, but on a political level, I was disinterested.

All I recognised at the time was that the highlights of that moment transcended political significance; from the second that Times Square heard the news, to the swearing in of Obama, and his and Michelle’s adorable first dance as President and First Lady to an emotional rendition of ‘At Last.’

I can’t make any promises that this election will be seen quite so romantically, but I can promise that sparks will fly.

Can you imagine being Obama right now, or how Romney is feeling? They may be battling for arguably the most powerful job on the planet, but they’re still human. What a difference a day will make to them.

With so much riding on a result like this, will the candidates keep their cool? And equally importantly, will we?

In the NewsLab studios, too, nerves and excitement will be in the air.

From 9am tomorrow – the big day – we’ll be on the trail of both candidates, reporting as Romney casts his vote and Obama fights to obtain another four years in the White House.

The latest reports show a fractional lead by the incumbent President. Here at the university, a little bit of NewsLab market research proved that students expect the election to land in his favour. Bear in mind, however, that the true statistics present a picture of a far more steady race. In the entirely possible event that Romney becomes President-elect, our team looks forward to a night of a show-stopping twists and turns.

American history could be made tomorrow night. Where Obama once represented the chance for America to vote in its first black president, Romney represents an opportunity for the first Morman to take hold of the White House.

The country’s fate for the next four years will be decided as our six weeks of dedicated work come to a close. Whatever the result – and I cannot wait for our team to call it – I know that in that small respect, to us, this will also be an election to transcend political significance.


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