"Reporting on the Stoke Central by-election count for StaffsLive has prepared me for what looks to be an equally interesting night. There were less than 400 votes between Labour and The Conservatives in 2015, and with no UKIP candidate it's going to be close."
Joe Thompson, 21, Broadcast Journalism student
As people prepare to take to the polls, staff and students from the journalism department are gearing up to be on the frontline.
Students will be getting invaluable experience of political reporting whilst covering counts across the Midlands for news outlets including Sky News, ITV, The Birmingham Mail and 6 Towns Radio.
Pete Leydon, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and editor of Nantwich News said: “Thanks to our reputation and our industry links, we have the biggest news organisations who actively approach us to offer our students a chance to work for them on Election night. Tutors ensure these opportunities are passed on and organised.
"Our excellent 'Reporting Courts and Government' module ensures our students are fully versed in how local and central Government works, particularly around the UK's electoral system, so they can take that knowledge and apply it practically as journalists.
"In Stoke-on-Trent, we've had the referendum, the by-election and now the general election and our journalism students have worked alongside national and international media to cover these as well as reporting for our StaffsLive news channel. What an incredible opportunity!”
Broadcast Journalism student Joe Thompson, 21, who is covering the count in Newcastle-under-Lyme for ITV said: "The experience of reporting the results of the Newcastle-under-Lyme constituency for a national TV channel on such an important occasion will be fantastic.
"Reporting on the Stoke Central by-election count for StaffsLive has prepared me for what looks to be an equally interesting night. There were less than 400 votes between Labour and The Conservatives in 2015, and with no UKIP candidate it's going to be close.
Professor of Politics Mick Temple, one of the University's election experts, will be keeping a close eye on events as they unfold and will be appearing on BBC Radio Stoke's results programme to give his analysis.
"Although the gap has narrowed and Theresa May has had a dreadful campaign – and Corbyn a much better one than expected – I still think it will be a narrow Tory win, although I would not be surprised if no party had an overall majority. If it was hung, it is highly unlikely that May could stay as Tory leader and a Corbyn led coalition would be the likeliest result.
"I expect national turnout to be lower than the 66 percent in 2015. At one time we could trust the polls to give us a broad idea of what to expect – so my prediction is based on gut feeling rather than political science.”
On a local level, Mick is predicting that Labour candidate Gareth Snell will retain the recently contested Stoke Central seat although results from other local constituencies are less certain.
"In Stoke North, South and Newcastle-under-Lyme, UKIP are not standing – and the Labour MPs there are very worried that UKIP votes will go to Conservative challengers. Labour will probably lose Newcastle and could also lose Stoke South. I expect them to hold Stoke North but I'm sure all three Stoke Labour MPs are worried."
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