AP election night report to include live webcast
The Associated Press will offer its comprehensive election night results during the news agency’s first continuous online live video stream.
“Big Issue: Election Results” will stream starting at 7 p.m. ET on AP’s Online Video Network, which distributes the news agency’s acclaimed video content to some 2,000 Web sites of newspapers, broadcasters and other customers throughout the U.S.
Originating from AP’s Washington bureau and co-hosted by Jessica Weinstein and the AP’s Sagar Meghani, the live webcast will include AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier, AP political reporters and editors discussing the returns, along with updates on congressional races and live reports from the campaign headquarters of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain. (Users can be directed to OVN’s video stream on Nov. 4 by going to: http://www.ap.org.)
The program will also feature 10 now-undecided voters from around the country who will explain which presidential candidate they chose and why.
The 10 voters have been part of the widely cited AP-Yahoo! News poll, which for the past year has tracked the attitudes and opinions of a group of more than 2,000 Americans to see how their political views evolve over the course of the presidential campaign.
In these final weeks of the campaign, the Online Video Network is profiling the 10 individuals and sharing their views on such big issues as the economy, Iraq/Afghanistan, energy and health care. (OVN’s “Big Issue” reports and related interactive content can be found at: http://www.ap.org/elections2008.)
“On a night when there will be plenty of media choices, we will present AP’s comprehensive election results in a unique Internet-friendly way that will include breaking election results, along with lively discussion and analysis from AP’s top political reporters, in the first live streaming program produced by the AP,” said Kevin Roach, the acting head of AP Domestic Broadcast News Operations.
Meanwhile, AP once again will be the only news organization on election night collecting the vote for the media and delivering it to newspapers and broadcasters.
“We recognize that this is a once in a quarter century election,” said Michael Oreskes, AP Managing Editor for U.S. News. “Through the course of the year we have dug deeply into the dynamics of race and gender and economic fears that are suffusing the electorate. Our pre-election AP-Yahoo! News poll assessing the impact of racial attitudes on the electorate is being cited as the prime source on the issue this year. We plan to carry this work into our preparations for election night.”
The more than 500 AP reporters, editors, videographers, technical support personnel and other staffers involved in covering the presidential, congressional and state elections and counting the votes will be joined and assisted on Nov. 4 by an army of 4,600 local reporters, known as stringers, who will fan out across the country to collect vote results from county clerks and phone them into four regional election tabulation centers -- two in Spokane, Wash., a third at AP headquarters in Manhattan and a fourth in Brooklyn.
In addition, results in as many as a dozen states will come to the AP directly from their secretaries of state via electronic feeds, though even in those states AP will assign its own stringers to the bigger counties to speed up the tally.
At the four vote-entry centers, all numbers will be filtered through the AP’s rigorous system of checks, verification and expert staff analyses before they are entered into AP’s computer election system and distributed by satellite or the Internet to AP member newspapers, the TV networks, other broadcasters, Web sites and additional customers. The individual results are updated thousands of times during the night as returns come in, the first of them shortly after 6 p.m. ET from Kentucky. The count will continue well into Wednesday, and in some cases later in the week.
“Counting the vote gets more complicated every year, with more and more ballots cast before election day, and the long-overdue assurance that everyone have the opportunity to vote, even if their registration is not apparent at the polling place,” said Tom Jory, AP Director of Election Tabulations. “We’ve been researching for months now absentee and early voting regulations and procedures, which can differ from state to state, so that our reporters in each of the country’s roughly 4,600 counties, cities and towns where votes are tabulated know exactly what to expect on election night. We’ll know how many votes are registered in each locality covered, and how they voted in previous elections, so that we can spot and check possible errors or inconsistencies before the numbers are entered into our reporting system. As always, we will work hard to provide members and customers with fast, thorough and above all, accurate returns on election night.”
Oreskes said, “The AP and its partners have prepared as much as humanly possible for the many potential twists and outcomes. Our election night team, headed by David Pace, Washington News Editor for Technology and Special Projects, has been expanded to ensure the decision made by AP vote analysts and State Bureau Chiefs are checked and double-checked.”
The AP has counted votes and declared winners every four years since Zachary Taylor was elected president in 1848. Following the demise of the Voter News Service after the 2002 off-year elections, the AP became the sole source of returns for all media, starting with the 2004 General Election.
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