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University of Northampton journalism students cover US election

Date 24.11.2020

A team of 23 students from the University of Northampton’s journalism courses joined forces with students across the pond to report the US election night live – and in a Covid-safe way.

The students teamed up with their peers at the University of Richmond, Virginia, plus one student at LeHigh University, in Pennsylvania, to produce as-it-happened election coverage, with hourly TV bulletins through the night, alongside a live blog and social media.

Watch the video:

They interviewed a host of American voters, included committed Republicans, a wavering Republican, committed Democrats, Latino voters, third candidate voters and a non-binary security guard who said they had lived in fear during the Trump years.

They also interviewed Andrew Milburn, a retired colonel from the US Marines on how the military were deserting Trump; Alessandro Vitelli, a climate change expert on the policy challenge; Jon Smith, a British political journalist on the impact on the UK; Dr Paul Jackson of the University of Northampton on the historical context, and Professor Emeritus of Politics, Colin Talbot on the election’s significance.

Battle of the Geriatrics

The students also produced profiles of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, looked at the ‘Battle of the Geriatrics’ and covered the local angles for Northamptonshire.

Second year, Robert Constantin, interviewed local councillors on how the US had shown Northamptonshire that elections can be held in a pandemic – key Northants elections were postponed last year. Fellow second year, Archie Corbett, interviewed Radd Seiger, the spokesman for the family of Harry Dunn, the teenager killed in a traffic incident involving American woman Ann Sacoolas. President Trump refused to send Mrs Sacoolas back to the UK to face trial. Archie asked Radd whether a change of President might make a difference to the issue.

First year Multimedia Journalism student, Nij Nayyar, said: “Having actual hands-on experience and a feel of what it is like in a real-work environment was very valuable.”

Second year Multimedia Sports Journalism student, Robert Constantin, said: “What I enjoyed most was definitely the pressure. Having to put everything together in a short amount of time with little to no practice was stressful, but I loved it.”

Third year Multimedia Journalism student, Miriam Kimvangu, said: “I did not think I’d enjoy presenting as much as I did. I would say my highlight was the teamwork. It was only Archie, Sam and I in the studio but I could not have done it without them. Archie was an incredible floor manager and we were so successful because of the communication that worked so well.”