By Theresa King, Managing Editor & Senior Reporter
TEANECK) – Montclair State University hosted an “Election Night Open Newsroom” Tuesday night, led by The Center for Cooperative Media and NJ Spotlight.
The Center for Cooperative Media and NJ Spotlight enlisted the help of volunteers to help create a live New Jersey election result map, showing real-time results of each county’s votes regarding the presidential and congressional elections, as well as state questions.
According to The Center for Cooperative Media’s website, “All publishers, journalists, freelancers, students, and media-minded people” were invited to help tally results and populate NJ Spotlight’s live election results map.
The night consisted of a large newsroom in MSU’s Morehead Hall, led by Associate Director for Center for Cooperative Media Joseph Amditis, with volunteers repeatedly refreshing each county clerk’s website for voting updates in that county.
Each volunteer was assigned a county, then those county’s votes were updated continually in a spreadsheet, creating the live map on njspotlight.com.
Most volunteers were students from various colleges, including FDU and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
In 2015, the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded NJ Spotlight and NJ News Commons an Excellence in Journalism award in the category of Online Deadline Reporting for its live election results map in 2014. That night, similar to this Election Night, enlisted the help of “students, data junkies and journalist volunteers to update spreadsheets as election results came in, while Colleen O’Dea, data cruncher for NJ Spotlight, reported on the data,” according to NJ News Commons.
The night concluded after midnight as the country still closely watched the presidential election unfold. As a reward for those volunteers who stayed to update the map until the last NJ vote, The Center for Cooperative Media raffled off two $100 Visa gift cards.
“We really couldn’t have done it without you guys,” Amditis said at the conclusion of the night. “Thank you for all the help, we really appreciate it.”
“It was really cool to be a part of something that people actually relied on and looked to for results,” said Jose Cortez, junior at Montclair State University.
“It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to doing it again next election.”