Column: Reflection on the election

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Nov. 5, 2010

Being sick is never fun. Being sick on Election Day – especially not fun.

Being sick on Election Day and eating too much pizza – especially not fun and cause for a re-evaluation of my decision-making skills.

I finally started feeling better on Thursday morning, though I still am hoping to catch the culprit who stuffed my sinus cavities with Play-Doh. Have you ever sneezed out Play-Doh before? It’s not fun, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend sculpting with it.

But sick or not, it’s all hands on deck for Election Day – one of my favorite nights of the year. I love the excitement. I love watching the results come in. And I love getting the chance to chat with readers on our website. If not for deadlines and the screaming going on inside my head as we near those deadlines – WE NEED TO HURRY!, WE NEED TO HURRY!, WE NEED TO HURRY! – it would be an almost-perfect evening.

The days after Election Day – once the adrenaline has worn off sometime around 2 a.m. Wednesday or so – are always full of reflection for me. What could we have done better? Did we update our election site quickly enough? Will I ever be able to spell Giannoulias without looking it up?

While the need to spell Giannoulias seems to have waned after Tuesday night’s results, I did take some lessons away from election night in regards to my other two questions.

Some things I think we can do better in the future:

• I would love to get a few of the candidates on the live chat with me for election night. I think it would be fascinating to hear from them in this venue as the results come in. I’ll be making a few calls next time to see if this is a possibility.

• Updating results throughout the night is no easy task, especially when you’re combining results from multiple election commissions. (I still am praying that one day Kane County combines with the Aurora Election Commission. I’m not sure of the benefits to the public, but it sure would make our job easier on Election Day. And isn’t that reason enough?) But I think we can do a bit better with updating results by bringing on one more person to help us throughout the night. We’ll try this for the spring election.

Overall, I thought our team of reporters did a nice job updating results throughout the night while working on their stories.

• More video. Hopefully, we can set up a few cameras at some of the places where candidates are gathering next time. Some newspapers show video of their staffs working during election night, but I’m just not sure how much desire there is to watch a sick editor and a bunch of reporters eat pizza and yell across desks at each other. We’re not exactly “Jersey Shore” here at the Kane County Chronicle.

Those are just some of my thoughts regarding our election-night coverage. I’d love to hear what you, our readers, would like to see more of on election night. Every election is a learning opportunity for us, and we strive to improve with each election.

As for myself, I think I’ll start dosing up on vitamin C before the next election. Or – at the very least – eat less pizza.

Joe Grace is the editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at jgrace@kcchronicle.com or call him at 630-845-5368.

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