Journalists from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment joined their media colleagues across the country on election night 2020, providing live local coverage of the 2020 vote and, for the first time, simulcasting CBS affiliate NewsChannel5‘s national election coverage.
Viewers were able to follow the election on two university stations Nov. 3 as students and professors from the School of Journalism and Strategic Media and the Department of Media Arts covered the evening on MTSU’s educational resource channel, True Blue TV, and the student-run TV station, MT10.
MT10 coverage, which began at 7 p.m., featured the NewsChannel5 simulcast, live interviews with MTSU scholars and other guests discussing critical election issues, national election coverage from the college programming streaming service “CheddarU,” and two 30-minute MT10 News election specials.
On True Blue TV, the students of Middle Tennessee News presented a 9 p.m. special with election-night results from every level, including local races in Rutherford and six adjoining counties: Bedford, Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren and Wilson.
The coverage was broadcast from separate studios inside MTSU’s Bragg Media and Entertainment Building‘s studios.
MT10 News crews used Media Arts facilities and the university’s $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, aka “The Truck,” while Middle Tennessee News crews operated from the university’s centralized student media facility, the Center for Innovation in Media.
MT10 airs on Xfinity channels 3 and 1094 in Murfreesboro, channel 99 on AT&T U-verse in Middle Tennessee, Murfreesboro CityTV and here on its YouTube channel.
True Blue TV is available online at https://mtsu.edu/truebluetv/stream.php and on channel 9.1 on the MTSU campus; channel 99 on AT&T U-verse in Middle Tennessee; Comcast Xfinity channels 9 and 1096; channel 195 on DTC in Alexandria, Tennessee; and digital channel 206 on United Communications in Chapel Hill, Tennessee.
Both stations also are available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. The Middle Tennessee News students’ work also is available at www.middletennesseenews.net.
Dan Eschenfelder, journalist-in-residence in the School of Journalism and a two-time Edward R. Murrow award-winning broadcast journalist, said the Middle Tennessee News coverage on True Blue TV was a welcome challenge for students.
“We plan to cover all U.S. and state races as well as city races like aldermen and council members,” he said. “This is a very large production; numerous classes and volunteers will be part of it.”
You can watch the Middle Tennessee News election coverage in the video above.
MT10’s Vote2020 coverage also included a 30-minute election news special at 9 p.m. Nov. 3 and a second special airing at midnight.
Interview guests between 7 and 10 p.m. on MT10 News discussed the U.S. Supreme Court, immigration, law enforcement in America, race in America, Tennessee’s political history and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those guests included representatives from the university’s Department of Political Science and International Relations, Department of Global Studies and Human Geography, Department of Criminal Justice Administration and the Department of Health and Human Performance.
You can watch their coverage at the MT10 Facebook page.
Journalism professor Ken Blake, director of the MTSU Poll, also was on hand to analyze election data for MT10’s broadcast from 8 p.m. until midnight.
Media Arts professor Robert “Bob” Gordon Jr., who serves as MT10 adviser and coordinates the live production facet of the department’s Video and Film Production Program, said the students’ election-night simulcast is part of a planned expansion of MT10’s daily coverage.
Students currently produce two live MT10 newscasts each week during the semester as well as weekly variety, music, talk, comedy and game shows.
“MT10 aired the ‘CheddarU’ college-oriented election coverage at 8 p.m., after the NewsChannel5 election feed. Wer’e also in discussions to schedule programs throughout the day from ‘CheddarU,’ formerly Viacom’s MTV-U, which creates news, information and entertainment programming for college students that’s viewed on over 600 campuses across the country,” Gordon said.
“Soon MT10 will schedule daily ‘CheddarU’ programming along with original, MT10 student-produced programming.”
MTSU’s media students have been providing comprehensive live coverage on presidential election nights for more than a decade.
MT10, in fact, won top statewide broadcasting honors for its 2012 election coverage, drawing in more than 100 electronic media students from across the college to give viewers live updates.
“It’s great that so many students can provide election night coverage and get great hands-on experience,” Eschenfelder said of the dual opportunities for students and viewers.
For more information about MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment and its programs, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.
— Gina E. Fann (firstname.lastname@example.org)