As Skittle-colored leaves begin to cover Athens in a blanket that signifies fall is coming to an end, voters must start thinking about the decisions they will make at the polls.
For many, November is a time of year hallmarked by Thanksgiving and the coming of the Holiday season. For those at The Post, though, November means election season.
Defined by the U.S. government as “the Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” election day is either a date people eagerly await or dread. The thought of engaging in the heavily-politicized sphere that defines election season is draining to many people in the U.S., especially college students who also must start thinking about finals as the end of the semester nears.
However, election day gives student reporters at The Post an opportunity to engage in local politics, write political feature stories and experience on-the-street reporting for what might be their first time. My first election day at The Post, however, took place from my childhood bedroom.
What should have been an extremely long night in the newsroom writing, debating and enjoying the company of my fellow reporters was deflated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, I wrote a feature story on the way political issues influence relationships and friendships from my hometown Granville, Ohio.
While it wasn’t the experience I would have wished for my first election night as a journalist, it only made the local races we covered during the 2021 election cycle more exciting.
Local races are arguably more important than the presidential elections that receive the majority of mainstream media attention. While the debates might be more engaging, it’s the local politicians — who make decisions that affect daily lives of voters — that deserve local news coverage.
Last year's election day, featuring city council races from Athens and Nelsonville among other local issues, resulted in one of my favorite memories in working for The Post. It’s the energy that was fostered within the four walls of our Baker University Center newsroom that I think back to as a defining moment in my college experience.
As a young editor, that was also the most stressful experience of my life.
My fellow news editors and I were running around the newsroom assisting freshman reporters in live blogging and writing result stories all while trying to edit those stories and assist other section editors. I was balancing my laptop in one hand and the election results we had gotten from the Board of Elections in the other — I think that is when I first felt like a journalist.
Election season unites all journalists. The busyness of our student newsroom come that Tuesday in November, where the keys on our laptops move faster than they do any other time of year and when eager voices fill the air, mirrors that of many newsrooms around the country.
Tuesday marked my penultimate election night as a student journalist at The Post. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give up to be a fly on the wall for the several more that every reporter to come to The Post will experience.
Molly Wilson is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University and is the News Editor at The Post. Want to talk more with her? Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her twitter is @mollywmarie.