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What's Happening Now? Election night jitters and 'the headline'

By Linda Ash

We should know who the next president of the United States will be by midnight tonight. At least, that's what we're predicting. Actually, fervently hoping is more like it.

Well before midnight tonight, our reporters will have turned in stories on the winners and losers of the congressional and local races, and our photographer will have visited polling places to snap some photos.

Editors will have edited local news stories and our universal copy desk will have pulled wire stories for the nation and world news pages. Obituaries will have been set, and the weather page pieced together and sent on to the press. Sports will have sent their pages on to the press.

And while all that's going on, we will stuff ourselves with pizza, and when we're not writing, paginating or editing, we all will be watching results flow in on television and online screens. We'll also be debating what our lead headline will say. Shall we go with just the winner's name? Or do we add a verb?

But what happens if the race is not called by deadline? Election night jitters will start to kick in around 10:30 tonight if AP has not called the presidential race by then. We don't want to go to press without a winner declared. But like the Grim Reaper, the pressman waits for no one - not even the president of the United States.

By 11 p.m., all pages but 1A and 2A should be sitting on the press, ready to go. We will have another hour or so before we have to send those pages. If we don't have a winner, you will see a box on 1A asking you to visit nvdaily.com for the latest results. I don't think it will come to that, but you never know. Thank goodness for the Internet!

So, if all goes smoothly and AP declares a winner by press deadline, what headline would you like to see at the top of 1A on Wednesday?

Linda Ash is editor of the Northern Virginia Daily. Contact her at 540-465-5137 ext. 162 or at lash@nvdaliy.com


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