Editor’s Notebook: 11/9/11

Jeff Genung

• The fog has lifted in The Evening Sun newsroom … Election 2011 is finally over. It’s quite a process for the reporters, as I’ve mentioned before, tracking down candidates (some of whom, amazingly, don’t want to be interviewed) and getting quotes for our myriad preview stories. When those weeks of hunting and chasing and writing are over, it’s Election Day, and much of the reporters’ hard work is over.

• And then it’s Election Night. Back in the day, Election Night was an all hands on deck news event, with each reporter positioned strategically throughout the county as the results slowly trickled in. Before the advent of the Digital Age, the results were hand-written (usually by Garth Grey) on a giant toteboard in the supervisors’ chambers at the county office building. If you wanted to know who won what, that’s where you had to be. And people came. Not just reporters, but the politicians, their friends and families. And busybodies. Lots of busybodies. I learned everything I know about local politics during Election Night side chatter in that board room. And there used to be actual campaign headquarters for each party – and boozy get-togethers at the Ontario or other local bars. Sure, we’d stay up until the wee hours of the morning tabulating results and getting punch-drunk (Great Googly-Moogly!), but there was something electric about Election Night. It was an Event.

• Now, of course, we’re much more civilized. The Board of Elections has long since gone digital, delivering results as they come in via their website (although last night was realllly slow). All one needs to do is log on, from the comfort of their own home. I still come in to the office, just to make it at least feel like I’m working. The reporters still work – but we communicate via text message and they call their respective candidates (also usually alone, at home) via cellphone. Far more efficient, but the romance is gone.