Susan Misicka, English Department
So how does a Swiss news outlet cover such a very American event? And why would people follow SWI when there are so many other outlets to choose from? English department head Dale Bechtel answered this question in an editorial:
“If you are reading this, chances are that you have a strong interest in both Swiss and American affairs. Maybe you live in Switzerland. Maybe you are Swiss and live in the United States. Maybe you are a global citizen, with interests that connect you to the two countries. We will provide unique coverage from Switzerland with the aim of explaining how the outcome will matter to you.” This unique coverage came in the form of a special dossier.
In the months leading up to the election, we published about ten op-eds highlighting a range of viewpoints from Americans in Switzerland and Swiss in the US, with titles like “Blowing your own Trump-et” and “A choice-less choice”. During this period we also wrote several articles on Swiss-American connections – especially in the business world – and how these might be affected depending on the next president. In addition, we explained how the Swiss media was covering the campaign.
The culmination of SWI’s coverage was the round-the-clock live blog on election night that continued until the results came out on the following day. Journalists attended events in Geneva, Zurich, and Bern, where the US Embassy hosted an all-nighter. We captured the atmosphere of each event by interviewing guests, sharing photos and videos, and going live via Facebook.
For the blog we also wanted to hear from Swiss people living in the US and Americans living in places originally founded by the Swiss. So we reached out to our Facebook community as well as to the Organization of the Swiss Abroad to see who would participate. Throughout election night, we stayed in touch with several people, asking them for their thoughts on the latest developments. As the results came in, they weighed in with varying political opinions, expressing “hope”, “nail-biting nervousness”, fear, and recognition that they were living in “a very divided America”.
The morning after, we also produced a video featuring reactions from people on the streets of Bern. And in the weeks and months since then, Donald Trump’s impact on Swiss interests has been a regular topic on our site.