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2017 Planned News/Events, Large Newsroom finalist

Election 2016, NPR

About the Project

On election night, NPR’s innovative digital coverage engaged the audience with real-time updates and analysis from the politics, visuals and social teams. Among the offerings: A custom-built election night live blog, state-by-state and county-by-county results infographics, contextual social cards, and live are installation broadcast on Facebook Live. This work complemented the hours of live streaming audio that appeared on America’s airwaves, as well as broadcast live on NPR.org and the NPR One app.

The live blog was updated continually by 15 reporters with live updates on results and news highlights. The brief updates at the top included important states that were called, links to videos of speeches, snippets of information on voting trends and links to additional coverage. An up-to-the minute election results graphic was featured at the top of the live blog. It looked awesome on mobile and NPR’s embedded graphics were used by more than 200 member stations (about 2/3rds of total NPR member stations).

For audience wanting more than a brief news summary, a live stream of analysis and visual storytelling from around the country followed. For example, political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben explained “What Happened In Wisconsin” and in the early hours after the results political demographics reporter Asma Khalid wrote a post titled “Surprise: White, College-Educated Voters Went For Trump.” Also after the results, Political Editor Domenico Montanaro highlighted counties where Hillary Clinton underperformed President Obama — a major factor to her loss.

In addition to election night coverage on NPR.org, we designed pre-built visual cards which could be used at key moments over the course of the night across our live blog, Facebook, and Twitter. These cards included text, key moments, illustration, photography, and fact lists.

On Facebook, we broadcasted video of an in-progress art installation, featuring an extra-large map of the U.S. in the middle of our newsroom. Artists from No Kings Collective painted the state results for president as they came in. We approached the slow drip of news during election night by giving our audience something visually interesting to look at, while also relaying all the important reporting and information of the night. Analysts appeared in the live stream from time to time to update the audience when major states were called or trends became apparent.

This coverage reached tens of millions of people, many of them new to NPR.org and NPR’s social accounts. It was part of an even larger broadcast and podcast effort that filled a need for serious, straight-forward national political reporting.