Journalism Students Gain Practical Experience on Election Night

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, '17 Journalism and English).

SJSU students Stephanie Gersh and Lloyd Alaban help NBC Bay Area Digital Editor Kris Noceda finalize election night stories (Photo: Jennifer Gonzalez, ’17 Journalism and English).

As the votes were being counted and reported on election night 2016, graduate students from the SJSU School of Journalism and Mass Communications played a part in one local television station’s extensive coverage.

Thirteen students in Mass Communications 210: Media & Social Issues volunteered to help NBC Bay Area news staff members gather and report the latest developments as they happened.

“Our grad students come from many academic backgrounds,” Professor Bob Rucker said. “This will give them an up close, eye-opening and unique media learning experience on one of the busiest and most exciting nights in the TV news business.”

NBC Bay Area Vice President of News Stephanie Adrouny and Professor Rucker planned the joint project weeks ahead of time. On Nov. 1, newsroom Executive Producer Dan Pyryt visited the class and explained to students how they would be helping individual newsroom producers and reporters identify and share late-breaking election developments, address voter concerns called into the station, and support NBC social media reporting efforts that night.

While on campus, Pyryt also met with several staff members of the Spartan Daily student newspaper, and congratulated them on their efforts. He told the student staff members and Professor Rucker’s class that the NBC Bay Area news team reads the campus newspaper every day, and many times they develop SJSU stories after reading the student reporting.

The long-time motto of the SJSU journalism program is “Learn by Doing.” Rucker, a former CNN correspondent and NBC local news election night anchor and reporter in Philadelphia, covered the 1980 Ronald Reagan-Jimmy Carter vote count.

“I will never forget how thrilling it was to be a part of that history making evening,” Rucker said.