Behind the scenes: U.S. Elections, Hillary Clinton’s HQ

09 Jan 2017

broadcasters-reporting-live-from-inside-hilary-clintons-election-night-hqAhead of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, our team share their 2016 US Elections live broadcast stories.

Months of planning saw Reuters-TIMA Location Services set up broadcast facilities at multiple locations in New York and Washington DC. This gave clients the opportunity to report live from the scene of one of the most important events of 2016.

We had facilities on the roof of our office in Washington DC which overlooks the White House, and sent several teams to New York to broadcast from the key locations as American voters went to the polls.

Tanya Lezaic, Special Events Coordinator
Hillary Clinton’s US election night HQ, New York

After months of planning the wait was finally over, election week was upon us and I was heading to New York to work at the Clinton campaign headquarters in the Javits Center. This was my first US election and needless to say I was quite excited to be part of this historic event.

“This was my first US election and needless to say I was quite excited to be part of this historic event”

The day before the election all hands were on deck to set up the dish and live positions. Of course we were not the only one’s preparing and I took a moment to look around and take in the surroundings. Media from around the world were setting up on the high risers next to us, domestic networks were setting up on a high riser to the left of us and the Clinton campaign staff were rushing round with union workers prepping the venue for the thousands of supporters expected on election night.

Prep was over and the security deadline was fast approaching, our first pre-election lives had to set up outside the venue whilst a security sweep of the building took place. Before we knew it day 1 was finished and US election day was here!

Walking up to the Javits Center the roads were completely closed off to the public with police at every barricade. Security at the center had doubled from the day before and more was still to arrive in the shape of dumper trucks filled with sand. The morning of the elections was the calm before the storm. The live hits started with Canal 11 Mexico, followed by Al Hurra, Antena 3 Spain and N24 Germany. This increased and the lives followed back to back on both live positions.

“Security at the center had doubled from the day before and more was still to arrive in the shape of dumper trucks filled with sand”

A tag team system had been developed with the co-ordinators. I seemed to spend most of the evening meeting clients and escorting them through the maze of broadcasters that had now gathered, and then up the stairs to our positions on the high riser.

All the rushing did not distract from the mood within the Javits Center. Cheers and singing from Clinton supporters seemed to have softened as the first states began to call their results. Walking through the crowds seeing the shock on their faces and then noticing that some had started to leave with tears in their eyes distracted me, but soon a broadcasters question brought me back to the reality and the work that was still ahead, especially as it was only 10pm est.

“Walking through the crowds seeing the shock on their faces and then noticing that some had started to leave with tears in their eyes distracted me”

The team continued to work hard throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning, even a few minor technical issues could not hold back the crew and the never-ending live hits. As the night progressed, and more states were called, it soon became clear that there would be no party at the Javits center.

“As the night progressed, and more states were called, it soon became clear that there would be no party at the Javits center”

It was finally around 02.00am est during a TV3 New Zealand live hit that the chairman of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, John Podesta arrived on stage to address supporters gathered. Podesta proceeded to thank those gathered and announced that it was time for everyone to go home. His speech was not over and the crowd was already heading towards the exits. For me and the crew this was the light at the end of the tunnel, our last live was being broadcast and the next challenge would be to dismantle the live positions, pack up and move to a new location.

After all the tears and drama the US elections were finally over, the people of America were waking up to a new president, Donald Trump. For the supporters of Clinton the dream was over and for #teamclinton the night was over and sleep was finally on the cards.

Reuters-TIMA Location Services will be covering the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration. Find out how to book your live coverage of this historic event.

Author: Tanya Lezaic, Special Events Coordinator