College of Journalism students to cover Election Day 2012

More than 100 students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications will be joining forces to bring an extensive day and night of election coverage to television, radio and the Web. On Election Day, Andersen Hall will become one of the state’s largest working newsrooms as the votes are counted and the key races and issues are decided.

Election Day coverage will begin at 10:30 a.m., Nov. 6, when NewsNetNebraska begins publishing a liveblog to provide real-time election news throughout the day and will continue until about midnight. Students also will post election-related stories to the website after the polls close.

Half-hour Election Day news updates will air on 90.3 KRNU beginning at 11:20 a.m. and run through 7:50 p.m. 90.3 KRNU will begin uninterrupted election coverage at 8 p.m. and continue through 10 p.m. 

Star City News will host and produce a live newscast from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on Time Warner Cable Channel 21 in Lincoln and air a pre-election show beginning at 7 p.m.

At 8 p.m., students will go to a live newscast on Channel 21 with reports streaming to NewsNetNebraska on the Web. Students will do live newsroom reports from Senate candidates Deb Fischer and Bob Kerrey’s campaign headquarters, conduct exit poll interviews during voting hours and photojournalists will be sending in photos from across Lincoln that evening. 

Live newscasts by Star City News will include interviews of local political experts, including:

  • Dr. John R. Hibbing, political scientist and UNL professor and expert on the biological causes of political behavior, will provide election analysis;
  • Dr. John Bender, news-editorial professor will discuss electorate polarization;
  • Dr. Charlyne Berens, news-editorial professor and author of a biography on Sen. Chuck Hagel, will discuss the Unicameral;
  • Professor Sue Burzynski Bullard, news-editorial professor, who will discuss the impact of Twitter; 
  • Dr. Sergio Wals, assistant professor of political science and ethnic studies, will discuss the minority vote; and 
  • Lancaster County election commissioner David Shively will provide live updates during the evening.

The live 8 p.m. KRNU newscast will include local political experts from UNL:

  • Dr. Dona-Gene Mitchell, assistant professor of political science, focuses on how well citizens use political information to inform their judgments; 
  • Lloyd Ambrosius, a professor of international relations and history at UNL, specializes in the history of the American presidency.
  • Hibbing, a political scientist and professor, focuses on the biological causes of political behavior; and 
  • Wals, assistant professor of political science and ethnic studies, focuses on topics related to race and ethnicity with particular attention to the study of political attitudes and behaviors of Latino immigrants to the United States. 

Students will be able to gather in the J.C. Seacrest Lecture Hall for a live “watch party” scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

“This is the third time that the college has provided live election reporting. We covered the 2008 election and the 2010 mid-term election,” said Trina Creighton, a broadcasting professor who is coordinating the students’ election coverage. 

Creighton said students have been preparing for Election Day by researching and investigating the issues. Background reports on the key races and issues in Campaign 2012 that will air on election night will cover the U.S. Senate race; Congress, president, state legislature; the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the Nebraska State Board of Education; and Nebraska ballot proposals.

Other election-related events at the college this semester included:

  • NewsNetNebraska E-voter guide — with the assistance of a geo-location widget developed by e.thePeople, students developed an easy-to-use E-voter guide for the 2012 election. The widget targets a voter’s precise location so that it delivers relevant election information to the reader and allows readers to compare candidates side-by-side, print out the information to take to the poll; and share information with friends via text or email.
  • Deb Fiddelke, a senior vice president of public affairs with Edelman Chicago, is a guest lecturer with the college this fall. She is teaching students how to develop an integrated campaign plan based on a fictional candidate’s political campaign where they will play the role of campaign staff during the semester.
  • Alexander Heffner,special correspondent for PBS's Need to Know, visited the college in October. He is a journalist and civic educator who has reported extensively on the youth vote and the political engagement of young Americans.
  • Dr. Robert Gray visited the college in September. Gray was a veteran of the Eisenhower administration, deputy director of the Regan-Bush presidential campaign and co-chairman of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential inauguration. He is the founder of Gray and Company, the first public relations-public affairs firm to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • The college was host to a traveling news photo exhibit from The Associated Press in September. “The American President” depicted memorable moments throughout the history of the American presidency.

Star City News is a weekly newscast produced by students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. SCN covers the news that affects Lincoln and the surrounding communities.

NewsNetNebraska is a student-produced news service of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

KRNU includes 90.3 KRNU and KRNU 2KRNU is the campus radio station of Nebraska-Lincoln and is located in Harold and Marian Andersen Hall.

ABOUT e.thePeople is a national not-for-profit organization that uses technology to further the democratic process and empower citizens with local, non-partisan, and well-presented information to educate citizens and build better governments.


Trina Creighton, election coordinator, associate professor broadcasting,, 402-472-4796
Laurie Thomas Lee, election production, professor broadcasting,, 402-472-0595
Barney McCoy, NewsNetNebraska, associate professor broadcasting,, 402-472-3047
Michelle Hassler, NewsNetNebraska, lecturer and recruiting coordinator,, 402-472-7050
Rick Alloway, KRNU general manager, associate professor broadcasting,, 402-472-6856