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OPINION: The Solitude of Election Night- A Lone Newsroom's Reflection

In the hallowed days of election nights past, the newsroom was a lively arena of activity, a buzzing hive of anticipation and camaraderie. The aroma of pizza wafting through the air, the constant ringing of phones connecting with reporters from across the community —those were the moments that defined the essence of a newsroom on the brink of electoral revelation.

But now, as an independent municipal affairs show host, the once vibrant newsroom - that I grew up in - has transformed into a quiet, lonely space, void of the bustling energy that used to make election nights so unforgettable.

As the clock ticks past the 10:30 PM mark, I find myself yearning for the days when the newsroom was alive with shared excitement. Polls closed in Westlock, Alberta, at 8:00 PM, yet here I sit, surrounded by silence and the faint hum of computer screens. The waiting, it seems, has become the most arduous part of the night.

According to reports from Town and County Today, a local newspaper in Westlock, the morning had its share of challenges. Long lineups outside polling stations in -20 weather created a tangible sense of civic participation. The frigid temperatures and enduring patience of those waiting in line painted a picture of democracy in action, an image of people exercising their fundamental right to vote.

However, as the night unfolds, the absence of a crowded newsroom becomes all the more apparent. The long lines at the polling stations imply that the race is tight, and every vote matters. But gone are the days when there were people surrounding you, sharing in anticipation, and eagerly waiting for the results to roll in. My journey down the memory lane of bustling newsrooms on election night takes me back to my first municipal election coverage in 2006. A Greenhorn reporter for a radio station in Belleville, Ontario, I was thrust into the heart of the democratic process, tasked with covering the mayoral race between incumbent Mary-Anne Sills and the upstart candidate, Neil Ellis.

As the night unfolded, I found myself on the front lines of Sills' campaign, capturing the essence of the electoral fervor. Meeting with supporters, posing questions that would resonate with the audience, and gathering b-roll for the upcoming newscast, I felt the palpable energy of democracy in action. There was an indescribable thrill about being on the ground, immersed in the dynamic atmosphere of a political campaign.

Returning to the newsroom after an intense night of on-the-ground coverage, the air was thick with anticipation. The revelation that Mary-Anne Sills had been defeated added a layer of unexpected drama to the night.

The memories of that night continue to resonate, reminding me of the unique thrill that only a bustling newsroom during election night could provide.

Now, I find myself alone, yearning for the camaraderie that once defined these nights.

In this solitary newsroom, I click refresh on Facebook and the town's website, hoping for any glimmer of information. The digital age has brought convenience, but it has also ushered in an era of isolation. The community that once filled the room with energy is now replaced by the sterile glow of computer screens.

Times have certainly changed, and as an independent show, I navigate these changes alone.

Yet, one thing remains constant—the right to vote. Despite the evolving landscape, the importance of civic engagement endures. As the results slowly make their way to my screen, I can't help but yearn for the days when the newsroom was a place of shared excitement and collective anticipation, a space where the smell of pizza mingled with the fervour of democracy in action made for a unforgettable night.


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