by Joe Jaszewski
Photography Editor
The California Aggie

The northern California college-town of Davis (pop. 55,000) has two daily newspapers: the afternoon paper, The Davis Enterprise, and the morning UC Davis student-run newspaper, The California Aggie. When city and county elections took place on March 5th, it was our newspaper, The Aggie, whose election coverage would hit the streets first on the 6th.

We planned accordingly. City Editor Fitzgerald Vo had his staff fanned out at various election-night parties throughout the city and county. Two seats for the Davis city counsel were on the line, so was the Yolo County Supervisor position and state assembly nomination along with Measure D.

As the photography editor, I met three photographers at the newsroom at 9pm. From there, based on how the elections were shaping up, I dispersed them to various candidatesı houses with digital cameras. With Fitzgerald out covering the Measure D results, and the newsroom vacant of any other editors, I found myself directing our coverage from the newsroom.
California Aggie elections photo team (l-r): editor Joe Jaszewski, photographers Debby Coleman, Tim Hemesath and Rion Sanders. Photo İ Sentani Teng

I realized how long it would take me to rise to a comparable level of responsibility in the professional world. Years as a photographer, photo editor, and if everything works out right assistant managing editor, etc. etc. etc. Iıd better enjoy it now.

What a blast. I kept windows open on my computer to keep track as precincts reported and those results were posted on the web. The phones kept ringing

"Newsroom," I answered, thinking I sounded like an old-timer who had done this a million times and literally had ink running through his veins.

From noisy election-night parties, reporters called in asking a variety of questions: "The election is already in the bag, but the candidate isnıt conceding. What do I do?" "When is the absolute latest I can get back to the newsroom and make deadline?" "Do you need a complete story from me?" "What are the latest numbers on the supervisorıs race?"

By midnight, the three photographers were back and I had finished editing their images from the parties. Overall, I thought we did an excellent job photographically. I was pleased.

We also ran a story which took an inside look at the student-body presidential campaign which had concluded a week earlier. This piece, by photographer Stan Oklobdzija and writer Andrew Whelan, rounded out our special election issue.

The writers started to trickle in and bang out their stories as myself and the design director, Alex Lee, played with some different layouts. The dynamic of that newsroom around 1 am, with writers and photographers and editors trading stories of election-night happenings, collaborating, concentrating was fantastic. The collective energy to put out a collective product for a collective community is completely addicting.

Joe Jaszewski




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