So for the first time I get to really watch the process of a full day of news production in the bureau. By the time the second day of the DNC came around and I was comfortable with the setup enough to play ‘fly on the wall’ I had to hop on an airplane and come to St. Paul. Yesterday was a highly abbreviated session due to Hurricane Gustav. So today was the first real day. It was interesting to watch, to just be a part of and absorb as it happened around me.
But I want to back up and talk a little bit about last night. I spent most of yesterday evening with two of the photographers from the Los Angeles Times. I met up with Genaro Molina and Myung J. Chun back at the hotel. I’ve been talking to them off and on over the course of the last few days, mostly legitimate work-related topics dealing with the setup and logistics of shooting the convention. What services are available where? Where can I get credentials? What’s the best way for me to upload these pictures quickly? Last night I sat down and talked with them both in some depth about their careers in photojournalism. What they like about it, what they could leave be. Challenges with competing with the wire services, particularly for Internet content. We talked about the conversion from film to digital in late 1999. The place for still photography in journalism. Chun had a number of interesting thoughts on that topic as he moved from still photography to video about six years ago.
The whole evening was entertaining and enlightening. They were both very forthcoming and engaging. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk shop with them. And then to get to follow up that conversation with observing them work– the selection of shots, the submission, and the anxious wait to see what, if anything, had been selected. This is another of the sort of immediate, visceral experience I was hoping to have. It was good.
As for news stories of the day, they were primarily follow-up to the stories from yesterday: the aftermath of Gustav, the imminent threat of three more named storms in the Atlantic, further fallout and discussion of Bristol and Sarah Palin. Some of our journalists are still working that story. Rumor is that Levi Johnston, Bristol’s boyfriend, will be in attendance at the convention tomorrow night when Sarah Palin is scheduled to speak. A number of other journalists have moved beyond this story and on to investigate Sarah Palin’s executive work. They are taking a hard look at her apparent change in position on the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. Tom Kole, Broadcasting Manager of the Washington DC bureau, commented to me first thing in the morning as I arrived about Sarah Palin’s apparent change in position regarding the Federal funding about the bridge. Look for more of these sorts of stories as the news media scours her Alaskan political career.
With Gustav dissipating and the New Orleans levees still intact, hurricane hunters looked further east in the Atlantic and reported three tropical storms now with names: Hanna, Ike and Josephine. Some or all of these storms may develop into hurricanes and head toward the United States. None of them will make landfall in the US before the close of the Republican convention, however, so it looks to be a return to more normal activities here in the hall.
Two other small items. First, while poking around the hall this morning before the session opened, I ran across Jon Voight on Radio Row. Radio Row is the name for a section of the conference center set aside specifically for the use of talk radio. Their setups are not particularly fancy: usually a table, three or four microphones, some audio equipment, a phone or two, maybe a television or a laptop. But there are dozens of these setups, one right next to the other running the length of the hallway. Radio Row is actually four rows set up like this in parallel. Voight had been cornered by a mob of print, radio, and television journalists when I happened across him. At the time he was answering questions about Bristol and Sarah Palin. Bristol’s pregnancy continued to be the big news story throughout the morning. Jon Voight has been vocal about his political opinions this election cycle. Last week he published an opinion piece critical of Barack Obama in the Washington Times. I suspect that publication has something to do with his appearance at the convention.
Second, Ron Paul hosted a sell-out crowd in Minneapolis today for his “Rally for the Republic”. I believe Ron Paul’s Libertarian-leaning, conservative politics pose an intriguing dynamic for the Republican party and I leave you tonight with a brief glimpse into the rally as presented by Myung J. Chun.