Virtual newsroom via Zoom

“What a night!” A first-timer’s account of covering US Election 2020

  • Trump v Biden has polarised the United States in this tight election battle
  • Young voters are overwhelmingly anti-Trump
  • Student journalists from battleground states joined NQ's virtual newsroom to follow the election results
  • For first year journalism student, Lesley O'Connor, it was a night to remember 

As my first major event as a journalist, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. And I didn’t really understand what was expected of me.

Our virtual newsroom kicked off at 11:30pm on Zoom and lasted until 5.30am. 

Dropping in throughout the night were student journalists from universities in Ohio, Michigan and Texas and we just didn’t stop talking about politics!

They were asking us about Black Lives Matter, racism and healthcare and were really surprised to hear how our National Health Service compares to their system.

They also said that racism in their communities is now very much in your face. People just don’t hide it anymore, they said.

We began by talking to Jessica Steele who studies at Onio University. Why did she want Trump out?

Jessica Steele, Ohio University student
Jessica Steele, Ohio University

“You can just feel it. It’s not like the first two years of his presidency. l didn’t see the hate until the last nine months. Everything just, like, came to light. There was no more hiding, no political correctness, none of that.”

Jessica has written her own article about our virtual election collaboration for the Ohio University news website.

To be honest, I didn’t really know that much about polities at the start of the night. But by the end – just like the Ohio students Jessica quotes in her article – l had a much better awareness and understanding of what it meant to all the students l spoke to.

I was surprised by the intensity of the students’ negative beliefs that Donald Trump was not the right person to carry on as president of the USA.

As a first year Journalism student, working alongside students from all the other year groups, gave me access to a wide range of opinions and different experiences.

A final year MMU student, Divine Vika, told me: “As a Journalism student, it’s always nice to branch out of your own little bubble.

“This sounds very corny but reaching for the stars, I got to speak to new people and see life from a different perspective not just what l see through TV, through social media, through friends. I get to speak to people who are actually living and experiencing situations and its makes me a little more knowledgeable.

“I also enjoyed it – even though l am tired!”

Rachel Sarah Cowsill is a first year journalism student at MMU. “I was a little intimidated at the start. I was worried about how it would work but, being thrown into it and involved in a team that was so welcoming and talking to people from America who were more than willing to help you work on things, it’s been absolutely amazing.

“It’s been really inspiring. That’s what journalism is all about – the human aspect.”  

It was a thought-provoking experience listening to the US students. They all spoke really passionately about politics. When l asked why they took such an interest, they explained they just want the best for the country.

There are not really sure if Joe Biden should be president, but they believe it can’t get any worse