Covering debate was chance of a lifetime

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016

One of the first things I did when hired as managing editor in July was to look up all things Farmville. I looked up other things, too, but focused on Farmville first because I was going to try to live in town, which I do now.

One of the first things I discovered: The town and Longwood University were going to be hosting the only 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. What an opportunity!

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I was not disappointed.

First, the entire staff of The Farmville Herald —advertising, circulation, news and printing — did a marvelous job of producing the finest single issue of a newspaper I’ve ever been involved with on Sept. 30, which included a special pre-debate section.

Next, we began posting story after story on our website, sharing them on social media about how the town and university were preparing for the debate.

Then, it was Tuesday — Debate Day. We spread out across Farmville and Longwood to report not on the debate itself, but “life” surrounding it: what happened, how things went, who showed up and so on. We continued to post stories and pictures — lots of pictures — giving you an inside look at everything from Longwood’s Media Center to Mayor David Whitus’ and Vice Mayor A.D. “Chuckie” Reid’s live TV appearance from Uptown Coffee Café.

You’ll find stories based on those posts and more in today’s paper.

Getting to meet a lot of different people is always a treat. One such treat was meeting Yingshan Shi, a Chiniese Xinhua News Agency reporter. Shi proved the debate was truly a global event, drawing reporters from all over the world.

Yes, I met a few notable figures, but the kick for me was meeting other journalists, some of the many Longwood student volunteers and getting to see what it’s like to cover a national story.

Congratulations to Longwood, Farmville and my staff for an excellent job!

Martin L. Cahn is the managing editor of The Farmville Herald. His email is