This article appeared in the November 20, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/20 edition

This reporter was laid off. Then she witnessed history.

Gene J. Puskar/AP
Journalists cover the counting of ballots at the Allegheny County Elections Division warehouse on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Nov. 6, 2020.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Amid the tumult of the 2020 post-election period it’s good to stop and take a moment to remember some of the unsung heroes of the vote. There were the many election workers who did their jobs quietly and well amid a pandemic, for instance.

And there was Robin Kemp. She watched those workers count votes. And watched them. And watched some more.

Ms. Kemp is a member of a vanishing breed – local journalists. She’s the founder and sole employee of the Clayton Crescent, an online site that covers Georgia’s Clayton County, a suburban area south of Atlanta.

She started it after being laid off from the local paper last spring.

She was the only journalist to watch Clayton County’s marathon counting of absentee votes, beginning early Nov. 5 and stretching 20 hours. That was when a steady drip of absentee votes pushed Joe Biden closer and closer to President Donald Trump. Finally, it was the count in Clayton that catapulted President-elect Biden into the lead.

And Ms. Kemp was there, bearing witness.

Suddenly her Twitter feed and Facebook posts were drawing worldwide attention. She gained 10,000 followers in a day, up from a few hundred. Foreign news organizations wanted interviews. Money flowed into a GoFundMe site she’d set up in April.

Ms. Kemp knows local journalism is a tough business. But her father worked for CNN and the job is in her blood. She says she hopes to build the Crescent up and hire a small full-time staff.

"The political and geographical oddities of Clayton County, which has a larger population than Pittsburgh, require more than one person to cover it properly," she says in an email. 

This article appeared in the November 20, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/20 edition
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.