UPDATE: The Sunday night live broadcast of “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” on campus has been canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, according to an e-mail sent by Brian Eckert, Richmond’s media relations director. “Today” will broadcast from campus no matter the weather conditions. Audience members are asked to arrive at Stern Plaza after 6 a.m. The program will be shot live from 8- 9 a.m. Sunday.
UPDATE: The Romney Rally has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.
The University of Richmond will be at the center of the 2012 Presidential Election this Sunday.
NBC will broadcast two shows live from campus with anchor Lester Holt. The two shows, “Today” from 8-9 a.m. and “Nightly News” beginning at 6:30 p.m., will sandwich Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s rally in the Robins Center, which begins at 4:15 p.m. The decision to broadcast from the university was made before NBC producers knew about Romney’s plans, said Kim Cornett, Holt’s producer at NBC.
“We call that good timing,” Cornett said. “It will help us find the spotlight so much more on Virginia and the Richmond area. We will certainly have our correspondents who have been on the trail with Romney be part of our Sunday broadcasts.”
The exact location of the broadcasts has yet to determined, but NBC is encouraging students, alumni and members of the public to come and be a part of the “Today” show crowd, Cornett said.
“[‘Nightly News’] is more of a news show, so there’s not a crowd per se, but folks are welcome to come and watch from behind the scenes,” she said.
As part of the “Today” broadcast, NBC is taping interviews with a panel of undecided voters on Thursday to show on air Sunday, Cornett said. Some will be Richmond students and others will be members from the area who NBC found, said Linda Evans, assistant director of media and public relations for the university.
“We’re just working on getting a nice mix of people, both age and from diverse backgrounds to talk about why they haven’t made up their minds yet,” Cornett said. “What issues are important to them? If the debates and ads have swayed them in one way or not and what will help them make their final decision?”
She said it was important, as journalists, to help inform the public that this election is still undecided with just two weeks left until voting.
NBC producers will also be taping an interview with Ernest B. McGowen III, an assistant political science professor at Richmond, Evans said.
Richmond is the second of three stops where NBC and Holt are broadcasting live, Cornett said.
“This Battleground Tour, which is what we’re calling it, is focusing on three key battleground states that both campaigns are paying close attention to,” she said.
Last Sunday, NBC and Holt were at the University of Tampa campus in Florida, she said. After Richmond, they will be heading somewhere in Ohio the following Sunday, she said.
The university was chosen as the Virginia location for basic logistical reasons and because half of the campus is in Henrico County, a key swing area, Cornett said.
“The campaigns have focused heavily on Henrico the last few months and, as we head into the final two weeks, there also will be a lot of folks on the ground from both Romney and the Obama camps,” she said.
Contact staff writer David Weissman at firstname.lastname@example.org