At a time when most people are sound asleep, here I am reviewing emails and last minute list items that need to be done for the day. Election day 2012 has finally arrived but its too early for most people to even acknowledge that fact.
By 3:15AM, I have already completed a walk thru of all four floors of the bureau, and gone into control rooms and studios answering questions and adding items to the" To Do" list. By mid-morning (sometime after sunrise) more than 500 people will have flooded these rooms with noise and energy. For the time being it is quiet and lonely, and the motion sensors automatically flicker the lights on when I walk into many of the work spaces.
Walking past the 11th floor kitchenette, there are only crumbs and a few lonely grapes left of several trays of breakfast food placed there only 20 minutes ago. A hungry crew set into the Danish, bagels and fruit like unfed wolves. Small brown rings of coffee dot the table where cups once stood.
The "Decision Desk" (above) is ready and waiting for all of the 'deciders' to arrive and begin their number crunching so CNN can predict winners and losers today for all of the major elections across the country.
On the 10th floor, the engineering team is already hard at work checking equipment, preparing critical items needed for the day and adjusting systems that make television happen. 30 hand-held radios stand at attention in their charging stations awaiting arrival of more of the team throughout the day. The "Shop" is already wide awake and hard at work.
Control Room A is already in third gear headed towards the CNN morning program that goes live at 5AM. The director, TD, audio operator and Show Producers are staring intently at a wall of pictures in front of them as camera operators in the studio are working out opening shots. Its all a television orchestra tuning up before a marathon performance that won't end until tomorrow evening when, if all goes as planned, our nation will have elected a President, several governors, multiple Senators and Congressional Representatives as democracy runs its course.
Time to start knocking a few last minute items off the To Do list...