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Columbia Missourian

Election Day showed the strength of Missourian staff and reporters

By Tom Warhover
November 7, 2008 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Dear Reader,

I hope you'll indulge me. I want to share with you the note I sent to the professional and student staff of the Missourian on Thursday:

Dear Missourian staff:

I remember my first presidential election as a journalist, in 1984. I helped write the lead headline for the Missourian that Election Night: "Reagan in a Walk." We put the paper to bed and rushed over to the Heidelberg for a celebratory beer.

The adrenaline rush was the more potent drug. I couldn't sleep for hours.

The world has moved on in 24 years. Your role in exercising one of the most important functions in our democracy hasn't.

Time and time again, this newsroom has risen to the occasion. Tuesday was no exception. Yet you managed to surprise me all over again with the breadth and depth of coverage and with the creativity in expressing it in our new and old media landscapes.

The volume alone was staggering.

According to the overnight note sent a little after 1 a.m. Wednesday, you produced 53 stories and 63 other media reports (video, slideshows, etc.).

Those numbers include non-election stories, as they should — life continues amidst Election Day. But the numbers do not include the continuous posts put on the Missourian Watchword blog.

More stories were put online by 4 a.m., as well as updates throughout the night from the wire services. And there were new election stories throughout the day Wednesday.

You captured the news and much more.

Look at the joy in the photo as Blaine Luetkemeyer gets a hug from Steve Hobbs or the sadness on the faces at the Hulshof watch party.

Feel the tears of the black high school student when she says, "I feel like I can do anything now."

Hear Liz Allen Restrepo as she talks about the sense of obligation she has to cast her vote.

And sense the historic moment in the simple yet powerful front page of Wednesday's print edition.

Most of you had a hand in that effort, even if it was only to voice a suggestion or air a complaint about coverage in the months preceding Election Day, even if your work on Tuesday meant reporting on non-election stories, and especially if you picked up a notebook or audio recorder or camera to talk to the people who made the fabric of the day.

I'm proud of your work. I have no hard evidence, but I'm betting our readers are pleased as well.