Learning From 2016 Mistakes, Networks Prepare For All Midterm Outcomes

on election night at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center November 8, 2016 in New York City. Clinton is running against Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.
Elsa/Getty Images North America

Still feeling burned from 2016 when the major news outlets and networks seemed caught wrong-footed by President Donald Trump’s upset, the major players in election night reporting have prepared with run-throughs, a shift to a seat-by-seat perspective and a dedication to not take anything for granted.

According to a Monday Politico report, different outlets are using different methodologies to prepare.

CNN has practiced 16 different scenarios of possible outcomes. The Washington Post and New York Times have studied up on individual races, refusing to be caught off-guard by upsets. ABC is “following the results,” staying away from pre-baked narratives. CBS is steering clear of national generic polls, like the ones in 2016 that showed Hillary Clinton comfortably ahead.

In an indication of the importance of this year’s midterms, ABC, NBC and CBS will show live results from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. — as opposed to the one hour of primetime the same networks devoted to 2014’s midterm results.

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