The hard work that WEBN’s team put in for its Political Pulse live mid-term election show was recognized with a Student Production Award from the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television & Sciences Production Award (NATAS), the organization behind the Emmys.
WEBN’s production won a Public Affairs & Community Service Award.
Executive Producer Molly Dougherty ’25 said the team of more than 20 Emersonians strove to give a holistic view of the national mid-term landscape, not just what was happening in the Bay State. WEBN had live correspondents at the campaign parties for the Democratic and Republican candidates for Massachusetts governor.
Three correspondents also covered important Congressional races while utilizing a green screen.
“Being from Pennsylvania, I wanted to include swing states,” said Dougherty. “There were really tight races that were key to how things would turn out [in Congress].”
“This was a historic mid-term election, and we wanted to be able to highlight the importance of having a record-breaking number of women and people of color running for office,” said co-anchor Faith Pinnow ‘25.
Dougherty executive produced Political Pulse’s shows during the school year, but the election edition was the only show WEBN aired live.
“The stakes are always higher with live shows. Not only because people are watching. We live-streamed on YouTube. There was a watch party on campus,” said Dougherty. “We can’t run back and fix it. We can’t rerecord it later. You just had to constantly be on your toes and acknowledge mistakes happen, and that’s OK, because that’s part of doing a live show.”
Dougherty was in the control room with other team members, including Sofia Mendes ’25, and the two were calling the shots, whether to cut, go live to a correspondent when a race was called, or throw it back to Pinnow and fellow co-anchor Sam DeCoste ’22.
Additionally, Pinnow and DeCoste prepared by working with Emerson Polling to get a better understanding of how early exit polls and race predictions work.
“We learned a lot and it was important for election night, as there are so many figures being thrown around by different outlets,” said Pinnow, who wants to go into sports broadcasting. “The most crucial thing was that we were able to decipher what was or wasn’t an official election result, even while live and under pressure to deliver new information. Let me tell you, Twitter was our best friend that night for a tool to find information up to the second.”
“The WEBN mid-term election show was a collaboration,” said Angela Anderson-Connolly, journalist-in-residence and WEBN advisor. “The students learned to work together as a team to make it happen, and they did. There were bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome, but as a team they made it happen. I could not be prouder of the students involved in this live program.”
While Dougherty was excited about winning, she’s also looking forward to being a news director for WEBN next school year.
“It will be a big year. We’re currently planning trips to go to caucuses in Iowa and South Carolina, and gearing up for 2024,” said Dougherty. “I’m excited for the live show we will do then.”
Additionally, Jillian Kay ’23 won a NATAS award for Multimedia Journalism for her work covering the 68th Annual Family Golf Tournament.