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May 12, 2017

NJTV Democratic Gubernatorial Debate Huge Success, Receives Praise

NJTV News and NJ Spotlight co-hosted the New Jersey Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Debate from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio in Newark last night. Candidates Jim Johnson, Phil Murphy, Ray Lesniak and John Wisniewski participated in the 90-minute debate. The broadcast ran two hours.

NJTV News correspondent David Cruz reports from audience during the debate, between the invited audience and Candidate Phil Murphy supporters.

NJTV News correspondent David Cruz reports from audience during the debate, between the invited audience and Candidate Phil Murphy supporters.

Coverage of the two debate special broadcasts included commentary and analysis anchored by NJTV News Anchors Mary Alice Williams and Michael Hill. The debate Q&A portion of each evening was moderated by NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron, highly regarded among peers as the “Dean of the Trenton State House Press Corps.” Aron offered insight into what makes a great debate.

NJTV News Correspondent David Cruz and NJ Spotlight CEO and Founding Editor John Mooney contributed with additional questions. NJTV News’ and NJ Spotlight’s editorial teams collaborated to craft questions and provided social media commentary throughout the debate.

The NJTV debates was broadcast live statewide by NJTV, and live-streamed by NJTV and NJ Spotlight. About 16K viewers tuned in, with 15K more watching online.

The hashtag #NJPrimaryDebate trended during the debate, resulting in praise for the network’s broadcast. The Facebook Live reached 94,994, with 14,395 video views, 3,782 reactions, 354 shares, 891 comments and 8,824 post clicks. The livestream on YouTube received 2,385 views.

John Servidio leans in to talk to Michael Aron with Stage Manager Pat Scannella looking on

John Servidio leans in to talk to Michael Aron with Stage Manager Pat Scannella looking on

There was a VIP reception prior to the debate hosted by WNET’s Development team including Anthony Escobar, Carey Meltzer, Stephanie Barnet, Sylvia Baber and Jonathan Kitt. About 70 people attended that reception, with about 200 guests in attendance once the debate was underway. Among those who attended were former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey and Former New Jersey First Lady Ruth Byrne. WNET President & CEO Neal Shapiro, NJTV General Manager John Servidio and NJTV News Executive Producer Phil Alongi spoke prior to the debate.

17 media reporters were in attendance in a separate press room across the hall, and a post-debate spin area enabled one-on-one Q&A with candidates. CLICK HERE to check out the Associated Press’ photo gallery.

Director Elvin Badger and Server/Chron operator Megan Gorman

Director Elvin Badger and Server/Chron operator Megan Gorman

It took weeks of planning, late-night and weekend rehearsals for the NJTV News team to prepare for last night’s broadcast. To see some of the different aspects of a live broadcast like this, take a look at these behind-the-scenes photos from the debate from Mike Kostel.

ICYMI, watch it here: http://www.njtvonline.org/news/video/new-jersey-gubernatorial-democratic-primary-debate/

Coverage of debate reached far and wide, including The New York Times, The Record, The Star-Ledger, Politico, PolitickerNJ/Observer, TAPinto, and WNYC.

Phil Alongi, John Servidio and Neal Shapiro welcome attendees to the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio and review audience ground-rules.

Phil Alongi, John Servidio and Neal Shapiro welcome attendees to the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio and review audience ground-rules.

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Phil Alongi and Pat Scannella meet with candidate Sen. Ray Lesniak at the podium prior to the debate

Phil Alongi and Pat Scannella meet with candidate Sen. Ray Lesniak at the podium prior to the debate

Frank Brown at Audio switcher

Frank Brown at Audio switcher

Prompter Operator Attila Azami, Technical Director Ian Elliott and Audio Engineer Jose Fernandez work to broadcast NJTV’s debate coverage from studio B, set up in the NJM Community Room at the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio.

Prompter Operator Attila Azami, Technical Director Ian Elliott and Audio Engineer Jose Fernandez work to broadcast NJTV’s debate coverage from studio B, set up in the NJM Community Room at the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio.

NJTV News Correspondent Brenda Flanagan interviews candidate Sen. John Wisniewski after the debate

NJTV News Correspondent Brenda Flanagan interviews candidate Sen. John Wisniewski after the debate

Mary Alice Williams and Michael Hill interview strategists Bill Caruso and Roger Bodman

Mary Alice Williams and Michael Hill interview strategists Bill Caruso and Roger Bodman

Post-Debate production team shot in the NJTV Studio

Post-Debate production team shot in the NJTV Studio

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The VIP Reception at the Gateway Project Spaces art gallery

The VIP Reception at the Gateway Project Spaces art gallery

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