News outlets have long competed to get the first, right call in declaring the results of our nation’s major elections. Next month, candidates and voters will flip channels to see which network will say who will represent them in several key elected positions.
Improved data analytics has increased the accuracy of these election-night calls, but the behind-the-scenes work of a decision desk is far more complex and interesting than crunching numbers through an equation.
The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy will host a live event to shed light on the mechanics and nuance of network election calls. “The News Media’s Role on Election Night” will happen Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m. in Langford Auditorium. It will examine how these calls are made and how this unofficial system grew into the role it plays today.
This panel, which will also be livestreamed on YouTube, will feature Chris Stirewalt, former political editor at Fox News. He was with the network for more than 10 years as the main on-air analyst of polls and voting trends and was a key member of Fox News’ 2020 election desk. Stirewalt is now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and contributing editor at The Dispatch.
Stirewalt will be joined by Josh Clinton, the Abby and Jon Winkelried Chair and professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, where he co-directs the Vanderbilt Poll. Clinton also is a senior election analyst at NBC News.
The discussion will be moderated by Nicole Hemmer, associate professor of history and director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University. Hemmer is also an opinion columnist at CNN and a published author.
This event is free and open to the public; registration is required to attend. Reserve your spot here.