Elon News Network, WSOE 89.3 tag-team coverage of candidate forum

The student news organization and radio station worked together to provide live coverage of the Alamance County Commissioners Candidate forum.

Elon News Network and WSOE 89.3 FM collaborated Feb. 5 to livestream the Alamance County Commissioners forum, which was hosted by Elon University.

The forum took place in McKinnon Hall and featured the 12 Democratic and Republican candidates running for county commissioner. The candidates, seven Republicans and five Democrats, offered their thoughts on issues of importance to county residents before the primary election on March 3.

ENN livestreamed a pre-show, the forum itself and post-show coverage on their Facebook page, which WSOE aired live on its airwaves.

ENN News Director Grace Morris ’20 said she believes any news platform is responsible for providing not only accurate coverage, but also digestible context for that coverage.

“I think it’s really important that we, as a news organization, are providing context to what that really means,” Morris said. “Not just saying all the commissioners are in this one room and they’re going to be talking about some issues. I think it’s really just about providing context to who these people are.”

WSOE General Manager Mabel Kitchens ’21 said that the dual-coverage allowed for greater accessibility to those who either were unable to attend the forum or unable to watch the live ENN Facebook broadcast.

“ENN aired a pre- and post-show of the forum from the TV studios, which was streamed on Facebook,” she said. “However, there are cases where people cannot access the Facebook or must be traveling during shows. WSOE serving as an alternative to ENN’s live stream creates more opportunity for people to listen.”

Kitchens also said that, in addition to providing the community with access to the forum, the collaboration gave the station an opportunity to prove that radio serves the public in more ways than just providing auditory entertainment.

“WSOE’s broadcast of the Alamance County Commissioners forum … shows the members of the local community that WSOE is not just a source of entertainment and music-related news,” Kitchens said. “It’s also an alternative to the more common ways of getting news on the national and local scale.”

The joint effort also allowed both organizations to experiment in ways they hadn’t before and ultimately set a precedent for collaborative media coverage in the future.

“It was just a really cool opportunity for these two organizations to work together in ways that we don’t normally get to work together,” Morris said. “I always love it when we get the opportunities to come together with the other student media organizations. We all love the thing that we do, and so when we find ways that we can combine them together for both of us, it’s just always a really exciting experience.”