When you listen to the election results on your local NPR Member Station tonight, you'll hear a seamless seven-hour (or more) broadcast capturing the country on election day, including voters in counties pivotal, and not; politicos vouching for their candidates' confidence, or offering words of conceit; and NPR reporters at campaign headquarters or packed with people in close quarters awaiting the outcome.
But what you hear on-air or read at NPR.org is only one piece of the story.
Behind your speakers or headphones are more than 100 NPR staffers working on the election coverage: writers, directors, producers, engineers, librarians, tape cutters, analysts, editors, bloggers, social media producers and runners. They are seated shoulder to shoulder (as depicted on the seating chart above) in Studio 4A, our Election Night 2012 command center at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Keep an eye on this blog, @npr on Twitter, and This is NPR on Facebook, for behind the scenes pictures from Studio 4A in full swing - with actual people filling each seat. As we say in the biz, stay tuned!
Key to Studio 4A Seating Chart
Match the seat numbers from the chart above to learn more about tonight's key players and their job duties, listed below.
(1) The Directors keep track of what's coming up and alert both the engineers and the hosts what to expect in the next few minutes of the broadcast.
(2) The "Traffic Cop" sits next to the Directors in the Control Room and filters the information coming from reporters and correspondents all across the country and producers and editors sitting in Studio 4A.
(3) Armed with extensive knowledge of NPR archives, a reference librarian will be available to conduct research on the spot.
(4) Pam Fessler (National Desk Correspondent), (5) Julie Rovner (Health Policy Correspondent) and (6) Nina Totenberg (Legal Affairs Correspondent) will be available for hosts to call on for in-depth reporting on specific issues, and filing spots for Newscast throughout the night.
(7) Carrie Johnson (Justice Correspondent) and (8) Barbara Bradley-Hagerty (National Desk Correspondent) will report on exit polls and official results of national and state elections for NPR.org.
Pollsters (9) Andrew Kohut and (10) Michael Dimock of the Pew Research Center will contribute polling and voter analysis to the broadcast.
(11) Deputy Washington Editor Beth Donovan will brief pollsters and analysts before they go live.
(12) Hosts will frequently tap Mara Liasson (National Political Correspondent) for in-depth analysis on national and state-based developments.
Partisan analysts (13) E.J. Dionne (Washington Post, The Brookings Institution) (14) Matt Continetti (The Washington Free Beacon, The Weekly Standard) will work in tandem with the NPR journalists to analyze the results from a party perspective.
(15) The Membership and Audience Partnership team keep the lines of communication open between NPR Headquarters and NPR Member Stations. They will regularly relay broadcast content updates to all stations carrying the election night special coverage.
Up-to-the-minute results, astute analysis and newsmaker interviews all come together seamlessly with the Hosts: (16) Melissa Block (Shift 1)/Guy Raz (Shift 2) and (17) Robert Siegel (Shift 1)/Audie Cornish (Shift 2). In teams of two, they will guide the seven-hour long broadcast over two shifts.
(18) As the bridge between the on-air broadcast and digital coverage, blogger Mark Memmott fires off immediate, online updates called This Just In.
(19) You will hear hosts call on "Political Junkie" Ken Rudin for analysis, as well as historical anecdotes that help relate this election to elections past.
(20) Senior Washington Editor Ron Elving will provide in-depth analysis and make final decisions on calling the races.
(21) The Senior Supervising Editor and (22) the Line Producer work in tandem to bring cohesion to the coverage. They'll juggle the newsmaker interviews, the live results from both NPR field reporters and other sites; they will decide when to play tape from voters and speeches, and when the analysts and correspondents will talk with the hosts. They are truly the "Sir George Martin(s)" of NPR Election Night coverage.
(23) The reporter wranglers serve as the lifeline between the studio and the NPR correspondents reporting from over 19 locations across the country. The wrangler tells the reporter when he or she is going to be on the show, and how long they'll be speaking with the hosts.
(24) The booker works with newsmakers and Member Stations to secure interviews for the live broadcast.
(25) Equipped with a room of skilled audio producers and editors, the "Tape Boss" makes sure all the audio in the broadcast - from speeches to voices of voters - is ready to go at a moment's notice to create a smooth broadcast.
Election 2012 When: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
8:00 p.m. - 3 a.m. Eastern
Where: NPR.org, Mobile Apps and Member Stations
Local stations and broadcast times are available here.