When I began my college search as an already declared Public Relations major, it was important for me to find a university that took communications majors seriously. When I stumbled upon Hofstra University on social media, it quickly became clear that the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication did just that. Hofstra University has made top-tier technology available to all communication majors, whether it be in the WRHU studio, Content Suite, Vertical Video Lab or in Studios A, B or C, the opportunity is everywhere.
On November 8th, students of the LHSC seized these opportunities; broadcasting Hofstra Votes Live from 8 PM until 12 AM just like any other news station in the country.
As a whole, Hofstra Votes Live had been in its preparation stages for three months, and is a four-hour, multi-platform student-run Election Night broadcast. Over 150 students have worked together to produce the largest simulcast at Hofstra University. The broadcast brings radio, television, journalism, public relations, film, media studies majors (and even students outside of the communications program) together and allows them to gain hands-on experience and learn how to work in a fast-paced news environment.
Now in its third year, Hofstra Votes Live empowers veteran junior and senior students to take on supervising roles in producing, senior executives, newsroom/research, decision desk, writing, publicity, tech, graphics and broadcasting alongside various on-air reporting and anchor roles. As a result of their leadership, Hofstra Votes Live was broadcasted on Facebook, Youtube, Hofstra University Channel 32.2 and WRHU Radio 88.7 FM, and can still be watched on Youtube today.
As a freshman, I joined the publicity team headed by Matthew Shieh with wide eyes. Hofstra Votes Live quickly became an incredible learning experience for me and was my first Lawrence Herbert School of Communications production. As a public relations major, I came in excited to take on any task. In its beginning stages, I worked to find on-campus media outlets to pitch coverage of HVL too. And as the days began to count down to broadcast, I had the opportunity to create Instagram and Twitter captions for all posts surrounding Hofstra Votes Live. This challenged me to be creative, work quickly to come up with ideas on the spot and plan ahead, overall I think this was my favorite task.
When it came to election night, the publicity team was able to work closely together to ensure we promoted Hofstra Votes Live to its fullest extent. I switched gears into fact-checking and Tweeting election results as they came in. Hofstra Votes Live introduced me to the newsroom’s high-energy journalistic culture, which allowed me to work under pressure in a fast-paced setting and ensure information was coming out not only timely but correctly.
It’s not every day that a university provides an opportunity for students to mimic actual midterm election night coverage, adapt to information coming in and make decisions on the fly. Even holding just a small role, opened my eyes to the inner workings of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communications, and provided me with further confirmation that Hofstra pushes the envelope for communication programs. Hofstra Votes Live proves that when you allow your students to take the reins, it is amazing what can be produced! There is still time to check out the Hofstra Votes Live broadcast, on the “Lawrence Herbert School of Communication” Youtube. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the HVL content shared on the @herbertschoolhu socials.