Watch events? Crowds gathering? Micah Powell knows the debate is a social affair, and he’s set to document it appropriately.
As part of journalism professor Gary Larson’s special topics course on debate and election coverage, Powell will be working on the social media team focused on student reactions to the debate.
“It's a good learning experience,” said Powell, a junior journalism major. “We went in blind but now we have a structured plan of what do you want to do, how do you want to do it, so I feel like we're all learning from this.”
The social media team will work hand-in-hand with Studio G, a live newscast produced by students in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies, to coordinate coverage between broadcast and social media to supplement the television team’s editorial with a flood of live tweets, Snapchat stories, live video streaming via Facebook Live, and brief columns posted to Facebook.
And while the team will be focusing on student reactions, they’re going to be hunting big game with an ambitious plan to interact with national media members on campus for the week of the debate.
“We're going to do large cover stories, interviews with CNN newscasters, Fox newscasters, because they're going to be here on the UNLV campus anyway. We want their opinion as on how students can benefit from (the debate),” Powell said. “After the debate we're going to focus mainly on the election. During the election we'll have a watch party.”
Covering news via social media is a new wrinkle for Powell, who had originally planned on focusing on radio. But this is an opportunity that’s making him rethink what direction his career might take.
“This is one of the biggest historical events in my life so far,” Powell said. “To be a part of it, to be here at UNLV witnessing it happening, that alone is a great experience for me to talk about. I'm still fairly new at this whole broadcasting journalism thing. So I'm planning on taking this as one of my big projects and learning from it.”