WestConn Students, Faculty to Present Live Election Night TV Coverage

Peggy Stewart photo. Anchors Truman Keys (left) and Chris Kukk discuss local results during televised WCSU Election Night coverage in November 2011.
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Television viewers across western Connecticut will receive real-time coverage of local and statewide results in the November 6 elections provided by a crew of more than 40  Western Connecticut State University (WestConn) students and faculty members who will present a four-hour live election-night broadcast from the Charter Communications Cable Access Studio in Newtown.


Produced by Associate Professor of Communication Dr. JC Barone, the “Election Connection 2012” program will bring together a WestConn team of six faculty members and two students as anchors delivering up-to-the-minute coverage of presidential, congressional and state legislative election results from 15 western Connecticut cities and towns in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven counties. The broadcast, airing from 8pm to midnight Nov. 6 on the Charter network’s CommunityVision Channel 21, also will feature reports by WestConn students from headquarters of the U.S. Senate and Fifth Congressional District candidates as well as the Office of the Secretary of the State.


A radio simulcast of the program will be offered on WXCI-FM (91.7), with live web streaming of the broadcast provided at wcsu.edu/live and  wxci.org. Viewers will be invited to participate directly in coverage by sending tweets on Twitter that will be forwarded to the anchor team during the broadcast.


Election results will be updated throughout the evening for Danbury and for 14 other communities in western Connecticut, including Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Kent, Monroe, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Trumbull, Washington, and Woodbury.


“Election Connection 2012” will build on the success of WestConn’s first-ever televised election-night program covering results in November 2011 town and municipal contests. This year’s production has been organized as part of the COM 298 “Broadcast Live News and Politics” class in the WCSU communication/media arts curriculum. Thirty students enrolled in the class and several political science majors will participate in roles ranging from reporting election results and providing technical support to delivering on-air commentary. Barone noted the crew for the production represents a dozen academic departments and offices at WestConn.


“We have come together motivated by our common goal to provide public affairs programming at its best,” Barone observed. “We live here, and we know the towns in western Connecticut. That gives us an advantage in providing a local perspective on the elections and the issues that are relevant and important to residents of this region.”




“Election Connection 2012” will build on the success of WestConn’s first-ever televised election-night program covering results in November 2011 town and municipal contests.




Moderators for the election-night coverage will be Professor of Justice and Law Administration Dr. Casey Jordan and Professor of Political Science Dr. Chris Kukk. They will be joined on the anchor team by Associate Professor of Management Dr. Fred Maidment, Associate Professor of Communication Dr. D.L Stephenson, and Assistant Professors of Communication Dr. Jay Brower and Dr. Truman Keys. Political science students Dylan Lynch and Corey Paris also will participate as program anchors, while student Byron Graham will deliver voice-overs.


The technical crew coordinating the program will be headed by Barone as executive producer, media arts major Brittany Nisco as producer, and media arts graduate Kevin Jones as director. Other media arts majors with key roles in the production crew will be Billy Smeriglio, as associate producer; Natalie Napolitano, as assistant producer; Andrew Piechocki, as sound technician; Steve Marucci, as social media producer, and Billy Trotta, as remote feed producer.


The anchor team will appear on a new set designed by Professor of Theatre Arts Liz Popiel and built by theatre arts major Rhys Kiernan. Technical support for the broadcast will be provided by Charter Communications, University Computing, and Pat Carlone and Tom Zarecki of WXCI.


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, located at 43 Lake Avenue Estension 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 @Elect_Connect.


Barone noted the election broadcast marks the latest in a series of accomplishments for the WestConn media arts program since establishment in 2008 of the media arts degree in the Communication Department. WestConn-produced programs have garnered several honors in regional and statewide competitions including “Good Evening Connecticut,” winner of the 2012 Telly Award for Live Magazine Show; and “Rolling Bottle,” first-place recipient in the 2011 public service announcement competition sponsored by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut.


For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203)837-8486.

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