Election 2018: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

There are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

7:00 to 8:00

Our news coverage plan is unfolding almost flawlessly. I’m so proud of my reporters. I’m so proud of my entire news team.

Some of these races are unfolding with greater drama than anyone expected. Differences in vote percentages that are less than one percent in some races.

The mood in the newsroom is one of confidence, excitement and fascination. Republicans in Bexar County took a beating in early voting, and many Democrats are leading.

But there are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

It’s only 8 p.m. Six hours to go. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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Election 2018: The turnout factor

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

6:00 to 7:00

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

Some analysts think so many people have voted early that those results alone may be enough to call some of these races.

In this county, more than 100,000 people voted today. Nationwide, I’ve heard turnout numbers may break 50-year records. Amazing.

Why? We can guess. Some of the more interesting stories in the coming days will be the ones that include voters’ voices and endeavor to answer that question.

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Election 2018: A rhythm to the heartbeat

From now on, it’s all about how the pieces will fall into place.

2:00 to 5:00

From now on, it’s all about how the pieces will fall into place … or perhaps not exactly into place, depending on how well we’ve planned but also how flexible we are. Some races matter more than others, if only because of how many lives the victors will affect from their seats of political power. More than 450,000 in Bexar County have voted early, via mail, or in person today, and there are about two hours left.

“Keep the stories short and detailed …” “Get their voices and the sound swirling around them …” “These five stories at the top and bottom of every newscast …”

The approach to news, the philosophies, the strategies … after 11 months as a radio news editor, this old newspaperman still has so much more to learn. Sometimes it feels like I’m evolving from thinking two-dimensionally to thinking three-dimensionally.

But there’s a rhythm to the heartbeat of this organism. A pattern in the tapestry. If nothing else, I can latch on to the regularity of how this organism moves from one hour to the next, from one day and week to the next, and make it a part of my own rhythms.

My reporters are filing in, slowly but surely, as we approach our scheduled 5 p.m. staff meeting. I’ve kept them informed about where their candidates will be tonight, where the watch parties will be, and reliable contact numbers. We’ll have our meeting, have some pizza, and then I will deploy our army into the political world, and then the battle begins.

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Election 2018: Recommended reading

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces that I’d recommend.

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items.

Here are five pieces that I’d recommend. I may offer recommendations later in the evening. Please add your own recommendations in the comments.

1. 12 Young People on Why They Probably Won’t Vote
By Rachel Bashein, Zak Cheney-Rice, Amelia Schonbek, and Emma Whitford | New York Magazine | November 2018
“More than half of American adults plan to cast ballots in November, but only a third of people ages 18 to 29 say they will. Here, 12 young adults on why they probably won’t vote.”

2. 7 things to watch on Election Day
By Lisa Hagan and Max Greenwood | The Hill | November 2018
“How big will turnout be? Democrats will pick up House seats but how just how many? It’s not the economy, stupid.”

3. What’s at stake for women in this year’s midterms
By Emily Sugerman | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Female candidates and abortion rights are on the ballot, while the #MeToo movement is one everyone’s mind.”

4. Voters Head to the Polls, and America Waits for Answers
The New York Times | November 2018
“Will Republicans hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate? Will President Trump’s supporters come out in force at the polls once again? Will a “blue wave” happen?”

5. Spotify Made a Texas Voting Playlist
By Dan Solomon | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“The Sweden-based music streaming service wants to rev up Texans to do their civic duty with songs popular in the state.”

Election 2018: Controlled chaos

12:00 to 1:00: The calm before the storm.

12:00 to 1:00

The calm before the storm.

The morning has been quiet — I came in early, if only to try to relax myself — but I can hear the roar in the distance of what’s coming. It slowly grew in my imagination as morning turned to afternoon.

Senior editors in the newsroom are conversing quietly, putting final touches on coverage plans and strategies I’ve worked on for months. I have local news on the big TV screen behind me. Another big screen, which acts as a monitor for the laptop on shelf below it, alternates between today’s news plan, Doppler radar for central Texas, and a map of the Rio Grande Valley, where one of our reporters is now stationed, watching and reporting on what might unfold down there over the next few days. BBC World News is muted on my iPad, which sits propped up on my desk — we still have to keep an eye on the world. Or at least I will.

My reporters are out in the field or at home, resting or preparing for tonight, during which they’ll cover specific campaigns, attend election night watch parties, and talk to voters and candidates.

Election night in a newsroom is a quiet, tense, controlled chaos as we carefully watch voting numbers stream in and prepare news stories that capture the sounds and sensations of what has unfolded in our city, county, and state.

My first election night in a newsroom was at The Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin. I was a page designer and editor. We watched President Bill Clinton effortlessly defeat Republican challenger Sen. Bob Dole. Last night I realized the last significant election night spent in a newsroom was the 2008 presidential election. I was an online news editor for the website of the San Antonio Express-News. I was in charge of political coverage and managed the homepage, and that night I wrote the headline announcing Barack Obama’s victory. I spent 2010 to 2017 in academics, and now in 2018, here I am again.

Part of me has missed it. The rest of me shares the sentiments of most everyone around me: I’m glad it’s here, if only because it will soon, finally, be over.

Here in Bexar County, we’ll watch results here.

Here’s to a long, fascinating, challenging and historic night. People will be stressed, frustrated, angry and confused. I will bring the calm, cool order to the chaos.

I’m home.

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Election 2018: Thoughts on the evening

Throughout today’s midterm election drama, I paused to reflect on how it’s all unfolding.

Throughout today’s midterm election drama, I paused to reflect on how it’s all unfolding.

1:00: Controlled chaos
2:00: Recommended reading
5:00: A rhythm to the heartbeat
6:00: The turnout factor
8:00: It ain’t over ’til it’s over
9:00 to 12:00: Finally over
Also: Recommended reading II

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