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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

DEN to provide election coverage

With 12 volunteer reporters planted throughout the state, the Dartmouth Election Network will provide up to the minute election coverage for students who tune in to the College radio stations tonight.

Election coverage has become a "Dartmouth radio tradition" since its it covered its first election in 1964, according to 99 Rock General Manager Vivian Lee '97.

Kathy Healy '97 and Lee will anchor the broadcast from Morrison Commons in the Rockefeller Center.

Listeners can tune in from 7 p.m. to midnight on the College radio stations 99 Rock and 1340 WDCR to hear election updates, political analysis and interviews with candidates.

The broadcast will extend over a 40-mile radius around the College to reach up to 50,000 listeners.

DEN Director Rory McGee '97 said the coverage is important because it gives students the opportunity to be treated like professional reporters.

"We are treated like a commercial station and the reporters are hopefully treated like commercial reporters," McGee said.

McGee said the staff of at least 75 students makes DEN's coverage unique.

The staff will include nine field reporters in the headquarters of the candidates for New Hampshire governor and the New Hampshire Congressional and Senatorial representatives. Five other students will remain on campus and write news and four will work as pollsters.

There will also be students writing news stories for the anchors to read, calling polling stations, monitoring the Associated Press wire and network coverage and operating the technical aspects of the coverage from within the booths.

Students have been preparing for the election coverage since the beginning of the term, McGee said.

He said the professional stations cannot compete with DEN's manpower because they have to pay all of their workers.

"We actually have a more comprehensive coverage than the professionally run commercial stations," she said. "The big stations can't afford to pay 12 reporters. Our volunteers are working for the experience and not for the money."

McGee said she believes the students often do a better job than their professional counterparts.

"The student reporters really care about the answers, so I think their questions are often more insightful than professionals," McGee said. "Professionals sometimes tend to just ask the questions they think they're supposed to ask."

History Professors Thomas Nichols, James Shoch and Constantine Spiliotes will help the anchors with their political analysis.

"The professors can be really helpful because they really understand everything that is going on," McGee said.

For example, McGee said Nichols predicted Bob Dole's comeback in the New Hampshire primary while the Cable News Network had called the election at 8:30 p.m. and predicted Pat Buchanan would win by a large margin.

"Nichols said he expected Dole to come back because a lot of districts still hadn't reported," McGee said. "Although Dole didn't actually win, he did come back to within a few percentage points just like Nichols predicted."

Healy, who spent last summer working for an ABC affiliate covering the national party conventions, said in some ways the DEN's primary coverage was more important than the presidential election coverage.

"We were the only college station covering the primaries, so other people relied on us for information," Healy said. "We had affiliates all over the country who took our feed and used our coverage."

DEN will not have affiliates for the presidential coverage.

"Basically every other news station is going to be covering this," Lee said. "Other stations don't really need our coverage this time."