Here’s What Viewers Can Expect From PBS on Election Night 2022

By A.J. Katz 

PBS NewsHour will offer live special coverage of the 2022 midterms on broadcast, online, and social beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 8.

NewsHour’s coverage will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff, who will be joined by a panel of analysts and campaign strategists including New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, Washington Post columnists Gary Abernathy and Perry Bacon Jr., editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report Amy Walter, former chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence Marc Short, and former campaign manager for Bernie Sanders for President Faiz Shakir.

Additional reporting will be provided by NewsHour’s chief correspondent Amna Nawaz, chief Washington correspondent Geoff Bennett from Pennsylvania, Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins, White House correspondent Laura Barrón-López at the White House, PBS NewsHour West anchor Stephanie Sy from Arizona, correspondent William Brangham, and PBS station reporters from across the country.

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NewsHour’s digital anchor Nicole Ellis will also host an online pre-show prior to the NewsHour broadcast that evening.

We recently caught up with PBS NewsHour senior ep Sara Just, who is in charge of her fourth election night broadcast at PBS/WETA. She went into deeper detail about how PBS plans on covering the big night (or potentially “nights,”) and what viewers should expect to see on their screen of choice. Here’s what Just had to tell us:

TVNewser: What can the viewer expect from your network’s election night coverage that they didn’t see in 2020 or 2018?  

Just: The PBS NewsHour will be livestreaming election coverage on our website and YouTube channel starting at 3 p.m. with our digital anchor Nicole Ellis. We will have live updates on the PBS NewsHour broadcast on the east coast at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m, and then we will go on the air with our nationwide PBS special coverage starting at 8 p.m. Judy Woodruff will anchor along with reporting from Amna Nawaz, Lisa Desjardins, Geoff Bennett, Laura Barrón-López, William Brangham and more…and a terrific team of expert analysts on the set.

What lessons did you take away from 2020 and 2018 that you’re keeping in mind for this year’s coverage

It’s very important for us to remind the audience, and ourselves, that early results can change. Equally important, we must be careful with our language and tell the audience that just because we don’t have enough results yet, that doesn’t mean the race is actually “too close to call.” This year, more than ever, we are anticipating that some candidates and campaigns may deny the factual results and question the credibility of the vote count.

 Where will you be spending most of election night? If it’s in the control room, who will you be seated near/next to

I will be in the PBS NewsHour control room, with our terrific Director Joe Camp, senior managing producer Richard Coolidge and senior coordinating broadcast producer Gretchen Frazee – and a small army of other, terrific journalists. There is no place I’d rather be!

If past is prologue, some of these races may not be decided on Nov. 8, or even Nov. 9. Do you have contingency plans set if this goes on for multiple days, and if so, what are they?

At some point in the late evening or early morning, if there is no imminent expectation that a major result is expected, such as control of the House or Senate, we will sign off of live broadcast coverage, but continue with streaming and online coverage. We are fully expecting that several key races will not be able to be called that night and therefore control of those legislative bodies may not happen for several hours or days. We will need to repeat that frequently to our audience to address expectations and false narratives.

Sara Just, NewsHour senior ep

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