UT students follow presidential election outcome through various media options


Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

Journalism senior Taylor Rice was sitting in a bar as she watched the results of the 2016 election unfold.

 “I watched for over three hours until I saw [Trump] won and I watched his speech,” Rice said.

Students across campus echoed similar election night experiences. Many were huddled in front of a TV or computer to watch the historic event occur through cable and online live streams.

Student organizations, such as UT Votes, held watch parties on campus for the election, and many non-UT affiliated organizations, such as the Travis County Democratic Party, held watch parties at various venues across downtown Austin.

 Last night, more than 70 million people tuned in to prime time cable news to watch the election results, according to Politico. This number does not account for those watching from online live streams.

According to Politico, from 8 to 11 p.m., NBC led TV news channels with 11.2 million viewers, followed by ABC with 9.2 million viewers, CBS with 8.1 million and Fox with 4 million. 

 In the 2008 and 2012 elections, viewership numbers also hovered close to 70 million, according to Politico.

Sociology junior Delaney Seebold stopped her usual activity to watch the election but soon turned it off as the results became clearer to her.

“I was live streaming on my laptop as I was studying,” Seebold said. “I stopped watching when Florida [was called]. Not only was it decisive, at that point all the other swing states [were] leaning towards [Trump.]”

Cable news is seen as the most used source for those following the 2016 presidential election, according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. 

“News and information about the contentious 2016 presidential election is permeating the American public,” Pew Center researchers wrote in the report. “About nine-in-ten U.S. adults (91%) learned about the election from at least one of 11 types of sources asked about, ranging from television to digital to radio to print.”

When you split the respondents by age group, however, respondents from age 18 to 29 were more likely to learn about the election through social media and online news websites, whereas all groups after age 30 were more likely to learn about the election through cable news.

Biomedical engineering freshmen William Sikora kept up with the election through various news websites and news channels.

Along with age groups, there are differences in where people consume data, according to the report.

Respondents with a college degree were more likely to name radio, national papers in print, news websites or news apps as sources. Those without a college degree preferred cable or local TV news.

Overall, 78 percent of adults learned about the election from amongst local news, cable news, national nightly network news and late night comedy shows.