Seven tips for attending an election count
- It can seem daunting when you are a reporter going into the local and general election scene. Especially when it’s your first time there and you’re not quite sure what to expect
- That is why I’ve rounded up seven tips if you’re attending the (local or general) election count as a media representative and what you can expect.
Generally, the same faces are found in the political correspondents scene. Those that know each parties’ policies, what the parties stand for and what they are hoping to achieve.
On the surface it can seem like things progress at a slow rate at elections. This can seem especially true during the count since the count extends to the early hours of the morning. However, those who have attended before know that as soon as one person is elected, the others aren’t far behind.
First time election attendees
So it can seem daunting when you are a reporter going into the local and general election scene. Especially when it’s your first time there and you’re not quite sure what to expect.
That is why I’ve rounded up seven tips if you’re attending the (local or general) election count as a media representative and what you can expect.
- Read through the accreditation rules and information, which you should receive along with your media pass. This will give you the gist of what to expect.
- Always carry a mini notebook and a pen. You won’t believe the number of times you will need one to make basic notes or take contact details at the drop of a hat. Let’s be honest, technology can fail you or take too long to load. It is infinitely better to seize the opportunity when it presents itself and get writing, the old fashioned way.
- Make a mental note of where everything is located. From the exits, toilets, hot drinks stations and the rooms and tables corresponding to each ward.
- Research the heavy hitters in the political scene. It will be hard to remember everyone’s names and faces. Of course, no one is expecting you to know everything. Nevertheless, it’s good to remember certain people and key facts about them, then network profusely.
- Be Brave. Talk to people, listen to their policies and ask them what their area of focus is right now. That way you’ll be prepared to do a thorough write-up and fact check what they say. They will be held accountable after all. Speaking to other media personnel can also be a great way to find your way around at the beginning.
- Triple check political figureheads’ names and job roles. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to get it wrong and risk offending someone.
- Don’t go into the counting area as it is off-limits to media personnel. Otherwise, get ready to be scolded for disobeying the rules.
There is so much in-depth information out there for first time attendees.
For a thorough guide which details how reporters can prepare to report on elections, visit The Thomson Foundation’s guide here.