The journalists have arrived. We are now a news room. Production started in earnest. The rest of the technology team came in today, and all our planning has come together. To celebrate, I slept in late. I arrived on-site around 10:00 AM, this morning, still well ahead of the bulk of journalists, photographers, columnists, editors and bloggers we are supporting.
Most of the day consisted of bringing the operational staff up to speed on what we have built, putting in some extra monitoring, and double-checking everything to make sure it was working as expected. After tomorrow, I am headed off to St. Paul to begin setup all over again for the Republican National Convention. So I want to make sure that I leave things in good hands.
The entire convention technology team went out to lunch today, passing a demonstration march as we did so. I have been interested in the demonstrations and protests that have peppered the setup week before the convention. The most visible protesters have been anti-abortionists. They have brought out loudspeakers and camped on strategic corners and rented a fleet of trucks. The trucks carry large banners with graphics of their message and have circled the convention site for several days. This sort of presence I expected. The demonstration march was from the other side of the political fence: the far left. They were perhaps a thousand people, with their primary message one of demilitarization across the globe with particular attention to Iran and Iraq. While we ate lunch, the march moved down Auraria Parkway and camped out in front of the single pedestrian security checkpoint into the convention site. This had the delightful effect of shutting down the security checkpoint entirely. No one in; no one out.
So when we finished lunch, we climbed right back into an 90-minute queue to get back to work. This time the sun was up and I finally got sunburned. But that’s alright. I get sunburned pretty much every day I step outside. So that’s not really news.
It is with quiet anticipation that I got a chance to actually meet some of our editorial staff. I talked White Sox baseball with John Kass from the Chicago Tribune. Los Angeles Times photo editor, Jay Clendenin, showed me some some post-processing techniques. And I stopped by the Tribune Broadcasting suite to observe the production of some live shots for WGN-TV, WPIX and several news shows affiliated with our Washington DC bureau.
It was interesting to me to compare the differences in approaches between publishing and broadcasting. I looked on as Mark Suppelsa and Allison Payne first went over the rundown of their pieces and then practiced their ad libs. Marvin Scott from WPIX really wanted to get his cameraman to push in on the seats of the New York delegations. The logistics of the space was making that request difficult– if not impossible– to adequately fulfill. Grant Rampy played the chameleon as he went over the headline speeches at the convention. He did this almost thirty times, at least once for each of our broadcast stations. I had to admire his discipline as he hit the same notes and emphasis time and time again.
And at the end of the day I got an assignment. My colleague, Jim Robinson, who has been the primary overseer for technology for the conventions knew I had headed into the bowl with my camera to just look around and play tourist. He got a call from the Los Angeles Times desk looking for some explanation on the layout of the floor. They were putting together a diagram of the space for tomorrow’s paper and wanted a bit more context. Jim called me with the request and I took some shots. I went on assignment. — Granted, not a very sexy assignment, and at the end of the day, they did not need the shots at all. Still, it was kind of cool to be asked.
And I suppose that sums up a lot of what I’ve been going through this past week. Odd requests, some of which get fulfilled, some get called off, some are successes, some are failures. But at the end of the day, it was cool just to be asked.
Michelle Obama is the headline speaker tomorrow, opening night. Stay tuned!