Friday, May 06, 2005

Election Night - and sleep deprivation

A night after the night before. All over the country as news coverage continues on electoral analysis, there are many journalists and photographers that are attempting to catch up on lost sleep. In every constituency, journalists gather in order to convey the numbers across to the Press Association, ITN the BBC and other news desks across the country. But there is often a long wait. With a later closing time at the polls, that wait increased. The first two hours usually drifts along quite quickly. But as the hours tick by, the fatigue sets in. In the 2001 election at one count I attended, the bar was open until beyond 2 a.m. It provided a comfortable area in which people could gather and discuss the developing picture across the country as we watched BBC 24. In a constituency I was working at this year, there was nothing. The bar was shut and a small table provided expensive warm bottled water, rank coffee and orange juice. There was no TV. And as such, there were a bunch of hungry journalists getting ever hungry for information about what was occurring elsewhere. The bar was filled however, with smokers. At 3:11 a.m the Castlepoint results come in and are filed as quickly as possible. But there are still the County Council Election results to come. It was time for a quick visit to the local 24 hour service station. Not until 5:30 did I leave. And by the time pictures were filed it was gone 7 a.m. In Harlow the second recount was abandoned and is set to resume on Saturday morning. There’s got to be a better way to do the count. Electronic voting has got to be the way forward. Though it would mean a large number of journalists being denied the ‘fun’ of election night. Today and the bickering continues on Sky News as Sir Teddy Taylor and Tony Banks appear on the Bolton Factor.
20:27 BST [19:27 GMT] 06/05/2005

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