Communication students getting the scoop on election night

KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 29, 2020

Kennesaw State University communication students will gain valuable real-world experience on election night through an interactive project assigned by professors Josh Azriel and Stella Payne from the School of Communication and Media (SOCM).

Students in Azriel’s video news production course will hone their journalism skills by reporting election results and reactions in newscasts that will be shown live from 7 to 9 p.m. on the KSU News Now Facebook page and SOCM’s Twitter account. One crew of students will anchor and produce the shows from the TV studio in the Social Sciences Building while other students will give live updates during the newscasts from polling locations and candidate victory parties around metro Atlanta.

“We want students to be able to build their portfolios for jobs,” Azriel said. “We want people to be able to try new things, which is why we have all of these different positions for them to try throughout the semester, including being reporters on camera, videographers, producers, editors, graphics people and researchers.”

Communication Students

The flexibility of experiencing different roles throughout the semester has allowed students to acquire new skills that will be useful after they graduate, even if they are not necessarily going into news reporting.

Senior journalism and emerging media major Kate Norum has learned skills during Azriel’s project that are useful for her future career as a sports reporter.

“This class has opened my eyes to various specialties within journalism by allowing me not just to be involved with reporting, but also with editing and filming,” Norum said. “The project has helped me utilize all the things I’ve learned so far to incorporate into my future career.”

Norum will be out in the field covering the 6th Congressional District race between Lucy McBath and Karen Handel on election night.

According to Chris Owens, a senior media and entertainment major from Dacula, Ga., experiences like this brings his coursework to life. He and his classmate Adyson Harrah, a senior journalism major, will cover the 7th Congressional District race between Rich McCormick and Carolyn Bourdeaux.

Kendall Chamberlain, a senior journalism major and Honors student from Cumming, Ga., believes Azriel’s project will provide students with a professional application that they can use to their advantage when applying for jobs. She will cover the results of the congressional races and talk to voters about what they experienced on election day, working solo as both a reporter and videographer by using a selfie stick.

“This project allows you to show solid footage to employers, so you can say, ‘I did this, and this is what I can do because of it,’” said Chamberlain. “It’s not enough to just have a degree anymore.”

Owens echoed Chamberlain’s observation and understands how important getting real-world experience is before graduation.

“Everyone in the real world is looking for experience more than ever, and this project provides that,” he said.

Although the election night process will operate differently than normal due to the pandemic, Azriel hopes his students will be able to see for themselves the reality of reporting on state, congressional and presidential races in person.

“I’m hoping they get pushed around a little bit and have to compete for an interview on election night because that’s just reality,” said Azriel. “When you’re watching an election on TV, there’s that glass between you and the action, but these students are going to live it one night – and that’s a big deal.”

– Josh Milton

Photos by Jason Getz

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit