All Hands On Deck: Howard School of Communications, Walters Center Cover Midterm Election

Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications.

By Ann-Corynn Rivière
Howard University News Service

Students at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications are mobilizing their resources to provide their peers and the wider university community with coverage of this year’s midterm election.

Come Nov. 8, the School of Communications will turn into a mini working newsroom. Students in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film will join forces to track, analyze and report on the election. Over the last couple of weeks, the department has held briefing meetings with student participants and journalists in preparation for Election Day.

Students have spent weeks tracking races not only in the immediate DMV area, but in other states around the country as well. 

For some students, coverage of the election is mandatory. Such is the case for St. Louis, Missouri, native Kynadi Hyde.

According to Hyde, the School of Communications has suspended class for the day for journalism majors and many other students in order to be able to have all hands on deck for the project.

Hyde said that certain rooms have been designated and reserved specifically to facilitate this day of reporting. She also said that the workload will be divided among students.

While some will be out speaking to D. C. voters, others will stay behind and work on other tasks such as editing audio and video, as well as monitoring the races and results coming in from other states.

In addition to the project being undertaken by the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, another entity on the Howard University campus, the Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, will be tracking the election as well.

The Walters Center is collaborating with The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation to run what they call the National Election Day Command Center.

According to the official National Election Day Command Center flyer, some of the tasks student volunteers will be assigned includes:

  • Producing video conference updates from the field from organizers in the states,
  • Organizing social media to share election day stories, and
  • Researching and monitoring historic races with Black candidates.

Dr. Elsie Scott, Director of the Center, said that the command center this year would be smaller than it has been in previous years. This will be the first in-person command center since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The maximum number of student volunteers has been reduced in order to diminish potential COVID-19 exposure.