UK journalists gear up for US election marathon

Sky News is gearing up with what it says will be one of the biggest overseas operations in its history.

US correspondent Michelle Clifford has been following the final days of the Obama campaign and will end up in the Illinois Senator’s camp on election night.

Robert Nisbet has been following McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin and will end in Arizona for McCain’s election night stakeout.

The election night will be anchored by Jeremy Thompson in New York, and coverage will come live from Obama headquarters in Illinois and the McCain headquarters in Arizona, with Sky’s Andrew Wilson hosting an election night barbecue in the “Sky News White House” in Miami. The private home has been kitted with 14 cameras for the duration of the election week and will host 150 guests including political and economic experts and grass roots voters from across the US.

Anna Botting will be tracking voters through a polling station in San Francisco and in Washington Adam Boulton will be offering analysis. In Sky’s results centre, Martin Stanford will keep viewers up-to-date with each poll and developing story.

The broadcaster’s online offering at Skynews.com has a dedicated election page with an interactive map allowing users to follow the results as they come in on election night. .

Five News’s chief correspondent, Jonathan Samuels, has been reporting from different locations across the United States during the past week.

Matt Barbet will host the lunchtime and both evening news programmes live from Washington on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 November.

Political editor Andy Bell will be offering the latest polls and predictions, and at the end of his journey travelling around America Samuels will also be live with the latest from the final stages of the campaigns.

All correspondents sent out to the US have been blogging on Five’s website.


BBC News has sent 125 people including technical staff and will also be using its US team to provide nearly 150 hours of coverage across BBC One, BBC World, the BBC News Channel, BBC America, World Service Radio, Radio 4, Five Live and local radio.

Most staff will be working for more than one area of output and a BBC spokesman said that the ‘deployment has been heavily coordinated and scrutinised to ensure efficiency and value for money”.

David Dimbleby will be anchoring coverage for the BBC, and will be hosting a six-hour live broadcast from 11.15pm tomorrow to air across BBC1, BBC News 24 and BBC World and also streaming on bbc.co.uk.

Jeremy Vine will be analysing the figures as they come in, using graphics to show who is winning the race.

The BBC’s Washington correspondetn Matt Frei will be offering his insight and reporters Katty Kay and Phillippa Thomas will be bringing the latest from key states in the US.

John Simpson will be in New York, covering the reaction of the black community.

Laura Kuenssberg will also be in New York, in the BBC’s Times Square studio with a team exploring reaction on blogs.

Kuenssberg will then jet to Washington and Andrew Neil to New York for the Daily Politics on BBC Two on Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 November.

Online, the BBC will be offering a full results service showing maps of results as they happen.

BBC North America editor Justin Webb will be blogging throughout.

On the radio, BBC Radio 5 Live will present a US Election special running from 11.00pm to 5.30am (GMT) and Jim Naughtie and Shaun Ley will anchor BBC Radio 4’s Election Night special from the BBC’s HQ in Washington.


ITN, which provides news for Channel 4 and ITV, has also sent out a number of big-name presenters.

Sir Trevor McDonald, who in the run-up to election night has been spending time in small towns in America, will be hosting News at Ten for ITV from Washington DC, and Mark Austin will present the ITV Evening News from the US.

ITV will also have a live results show starting at midnight on Tuesday, which will be presented by Alastair Stewart in the studio in London and Julie Etchingam in New York.

Washington correspondent John Irvine, international editor Bill Neely and senior correspondent James Mates have been playing a key role in coverage so far and will continue to do so this week.

Channel 4 News will be using Jon Snow, Sarah Smith and Jonathan Rugman in the US, with an extended midday programme on Wednesday for a full hour when Krishnan Guru-Murthy will present from Washington, Smith and Rugman from the US and Lindsey Hilsum and Gary Gibbon from London.


CNN International will be joining up with CNN US to broadcast eight hours of simultaneous live coverage, with European broadcasts fronted by former BBC political editor Robin Oakley.

CNN International will also take advantage of its international positioning, and will have a team in place in more than 32 countries including Obama’s ancestral home town in Kenya, Iraq, Israel, a number of cities in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and across the US.

Newspaper coverage

The twists and turns of the US election campaign has created an enormous appetite for the story, according to the Guardian’s foreign editor.

Harriet Sherwood has been running the Guardian’s election coverage from the US for three weeks, with a team of more than 20 journalists working on the story.

She said: “If you look at our website you’ll see every day the stories that are being read most widely are American stories, everybody is fascinated by this campaign.”

Compared with the last US election, The Guardian has ramped up its video content from the occasional video to around five a day, Sherwood said.

She said the paper already had around 15 editorial and production staff based in the US working on Guardian America and as correspondents for The Guardian and The Observer.

Another seven staff – Sherwood, a Comment is Free editor, three multimedia journalists and two commentators – have flown out to join them for the duration of the election.

Sherwood said the team were expecting to work a 36-hour shift when the results start pouring in.

“We’ll be doing non-stop coverage for at least 36 hours because we have to do material for the paper, then once that’s finished we’ll carry on doing more stuff for the website, and then we’ll do the next day’s paper as well.

“Now that everybody does digital as well as print, and because of the time difference it means there’s never a point in the night where you can say we’re done.

“But people are very excited and energised by the campaign, its been a great story and the adrenaline will be carrying us through.”

The Daily and Sunday Telegraph will have 10 correspondents covering the US election results live from the key swing states throughout the night.

The papers’ US-based staff will be supported by sketch writer Andrew Gimson and associate editor Simon Heffer, along with a team at the group’s UK headquarters monitoring the results and coordinating the coverage.

Telegraph.co.uk will have all the latest results and commentary, and Telegraph TV will be offering video content. The site will also have an online map showing the results from the battleground states.

Two blogs – Eagle Eye and Toby Harnden – will be continually updated with opinion and political analysis.

In The Times’s print edition there are daily reports in the US from Gerard Baker, Tom Baldwin, Tim Reid, Martin Fletcher and Lucy Bannerman.

The paper’s LA correspondent Chris Ayres, is writing sketches and reviews of debates and election ads and Mike Harvey in California and Jacqui Goddard in Miami will also be contributing.

Online the paper has details of how the night works and when the results come in and an Across The Pond blog which looks at the story behind the news in the last few days before election night.

On election day the website will offer reports on the candidates in their home states and live reports from swing states and Washington DC, as well as Key moment commentaries from Gerard Baker. There will also be video reports and analysis from the States, electoral map graphic updates live every three minutes, results reaction as it rolls in and a live blog from the Democrat state of New York.

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