I try to keep my personal politics off of this blog. I am not sure how successful I was when I was chronicling my work at the political conventions earlier this year, but I tried. My goal was to capture work-a-day experiences and write about the practical and logistical elements of my time there. I left the political opinions to my skilled co-workers from the Editorial departments. So, today, this day before Election Day, I am going to try and repeat that tone and talk a little bit about these last few days of the campaigns. You may have heard about the Rally in Grant Park scheduled for tomorrow night. My friends, John and Sabrina, have both managed to score a couple of the elusive 65000 tickets. The rest of us have been graciously invited by our Mayor to attend anyway. Not to be outdone, city officials quickly put together a scary list of steps they will be taking to manage the rally. Things like intermittent rolling street closures, controlled access, metal detectors. That sort of thing.
You may remember election nights in 2004 and 2000 ran very late. In 2004, the Chicago Tribune front page headline was “Too Close to Call”. (I’m still not entirely convinced the results of the 2000 election are all in. I think maybe some guy named Chad has them squirreled away in a lockbox somewhere on Siesta Key. I don’t know.) The logistical factors of the newspaper business means that they must have deadlines. If the presses do not start running by a certain time, it becomes impossible to get the paper circulated in the morning. With such tight margins, it is important to minimize unexpected errors and outages. I have been tasked with being part of the crack technology team to be on-site at Tribune Tower through the run of press. So attending the rally is right out. What I am considering is making my way down to the newsroom and taking it all in as it happens much like I did at the political conventions this past summer. Tomorrow night will be a very big night for news.
Barack Obama made a final campaign sweep through the town where I grew up this weekend: Pueblo, Colorado. This was his second stop in Pueblo in the last three months. My mom waited in line for hours to see him speak when he came through in September. On Saturday, 16000 people filled Union Avenue and Main Street— yes, my childhood home of 100000 people has a Main Street running through the middle of downtown.
After the rally, the family stopped in to one of my favorite restaurants in Pueblo: Jorge’s Sombrero in Bessemer. What I wanted to point out was picture and story from Reuters. Reuters has been doing a series of articles about riding along with the presidential campaigns. Riding with Obama and Riding with McCain. The photograph at the top of this post is from Reuters. Jason Reed’s accompanying blog post explains how it was made and some of the challenges and thoughts that go into the task of reporting the news.
So I’ll end with this: a clichéd reminder to vote tomorrow and a splash of personal politics. Pay attention to more than just the presidential election. For residents of Illinois, pay particular attention to the referendum for an Illinois constitutional convention. It could just be the most important ballot measure you ever endorsed.