I hope you’ve been to SHFWire.com by now and read the election stories Elvia and I wrote today. (In case you didn’t I linked to them on our names and the wire’s website is no longer password protected. Score!) And I’m sure you’re aware of the election outcome, so I’m not going to rehash any of that. What I do want to talk about is what it was like covering my first major election.
I’ve covered Student Government elections before, but sitting around with a fellow newspaper watching the Student Government people sit around waiting for election results is nothing like this.
In my previous entry, I explained how Elvia and I really wanted to cover something for the election, even if we knew no one was going to pick up our story. It was as much about the reporting experience and being part of something historic.
|Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaking at the Republican watch party Tuesday night.|
As soon as I walked into the Grand Hyatt I knew I had stepped into a whole new world. I wish I had a wide-angle shot to show you how the room was set up, but I was trying not to look like a newbie. In the center of the room, a roped-off cluster of risers held TV cameras from the likes of CNN. In front of the risers, photographers and reporters fought for outlets to power their laptops. Chairs holding laptops were haphazardly scattered around but concentrated more around the few sources of power left after the cameras were powered. The cluster of cameras linked to a strip along the left wall.
Reporters were restricted to this roped-off area, keeping us from ruining the night by pestering guests with questions, unless they wandered too close to the press pen. It was funny though, because they seemed impressed by the press contained in the center of the room. I am in pictures in at least eight people’s iPhones. It was so temping to make funny faces as they took their pictures, but I remained professional and just pretended to be busy doing something. I was actually watching the Kentucky elections via Twitter.
|Some of the very excited crowd at the Republican watch party.|
Once the festivities started, the press handler, a frazzled young woman in charge of making sure her kids stayed in their pen, escorted photographers between a roped-off area around the speakers platform and then back to the reporter’s area. Finally, once the guests got too thick for her to keep track of everyone between locations, we had to choose to stay by the stage or in the pen.
If I had to describe the evening in one word, I’d say loud. Every time Republicans picked up another state, everyone cheered and clapped. Whenever anyone spoke, everyone cheered and clapped. I’m sure the overpriced alcohol played no role in anyone’s enthusiasm.
Sometimes reporters would try to venture out of their pen to talk to people. Invariably, our baby sitter would escort them back behind the rope.
|President Obama speaking at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.|
But after the announcement came out that the Republicans regained control of the House and Boehner finally came out to address the crowd, the work still wasn’t finished.
Today, the president gave an address about the elections at the White House. I got to take my second trip there. This time, I got right into the White House and made it through security so easily I almost looked like I knew what I was doing. Then, the fun began.
This time, when the president entered, I didn’t have the same, “Oh. My. God.” moment. Instead, I joined the chorus of shutters going all around the room. I took a decent number of pictures, and got a little video. And if you check the video on C-SPAN, you can see me off in the distance.