By Carrie Reierson, Guest Writer

Newsrooms across Seattle and Tacoma buzzed with activity Nov. 5. Election results poured in, journalists devoured many pizzas and crews of reporters and photographers covered election events all over the Pacific Northwest. Even students from Pacific Lutheran University joined the frenzy.

Three teams of student volunteers headed out to the Tacoma News Tribune and the television stations KCPQ and KOMO in Seattle. These students helped with data entry as well as covering live events on location with tweets, photos and blog posts.

The group at the Tacoma News Tribune split into smaller teams and went to various locations to cover election night parties. Juniors Amanda Brasgalla and Valery Jorgenson found themselves at a golf course near Gig Harbor chatting with state senate candidate Jan Angel. Others headed out to Cork, a wine bar, to attend a party hosted by opponents of Tacoma Prop. 1, a proposition to increase the earnings tax on utility companies for neighborhood street improvements and safety upgrades.

Senior Mariah Rasmussen was part of the team sent to Cork. She covered the event by live tweeting photos of party goers and mingling with guests.

“It was a little bit stressful to be there and to be working for The News Tribune, because I’ve never done anything like that before,” Rasmussen said. “It ended up not being as stressful as I thought it was going to be. They told us to relax and have fun with it, so we did.”

The other two teams of students headed to Seattle. One group settled in at KCPQ, a FOX affiliated television station. KCPQ employees tasked the students with entering data into the system in case the computers failed.

The computers were up and running, so most of the students spent their time tweeting and watching the election results roll in live. They also had the opportunity to visit the green room, news sets and view the show taping in the studio.

The other Seattle group was stationed at KOMO News in Fisher Plaza. These students were also responsible for data entry, spending the night entering numbers into the system as they came in. Once the students finished the work, KOMO news treated them to a tour of the facilities, including the control rooms, news sets and even a short visit with KOMO News weathercaster Steve Pool.

At the end of their stay, the students at KOMO sat down with their tour guide Brett Jungbluth, a broadcast engineer. Jungbluth ended the night by advising the up-and-coming journalists on what they can do to get their foot in the door.

“Get your hands on as much stuff as you can do, no matter what your school offers you,” Jungbluth said as students packed up their things and thanked him, heading out the door to make the long drive back to campus. ◼︎

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