Beneath the buttons and hats, previous the strategically positioned indicators waving in the area, the conventions look a lot completely different. It is, of course, impossible for media to cowl every aspect of political conventions. However due to a long-standing narrative that dominates media coverage of these occasions, what happens on the scene is inevitably distinct from what’s broadcast on Television.
As a result of I research political communication — and what else are the conventions but the ultimate instance of political communication? — I jumped at a last-minute opportunity to attend my first convention in individual. And what I can say is that even figuring out all the ins and outs of those overly staged and scripted occasions, being in Charlotte for the DNC gave me a extra nuanced perspective. I’ll probably be digesting all that I saw and heard for weeks, so there could also be extra blogs from me on this topic. However this is what it regarded like from this attendee.
On the bottom
I knew the world can be safe, however there were a stunning variety of police and huge barricade gates stopping attendees from getting round. This was additional difficult by numerous protests, particularly on Tuesday. At one intersection, professional-life supporters were rallying on one facet, whereas on the opposite side Planned Parenthood supporters shouted in protest (see Comedy Central’s take on the event here). We had bother getting transportation because protests would pop up and drive intersections to be blocked. However there was loads to have a look at as we wandered around Charlotte looking for our bus. Celebrities were everywhere, posing for pictures and giving autographs, from Jeff Bridges (“the Dude”) to Ashley Judd to Chris Matthews. Distributors promoting shirts (I saw one with Barack Obama sitting in the Oval Workplace with the statement, “This chair is taken”) and buttons lined the streets outdoors the convention middle. Even random “acts of tradition” popped up on avenue corners; the one I saw featured males dressed as ’90s valley ladies singing and dancing.
At our hotel
I believe each room in Charlotte, and inside a 20-mile radius, needed to have been booked final week. We acquired fortunate and were solely about five miles out of city at the identical lodge as the Delaware delegates. I noticed certainly one of my former college students within the lobby, who knowledgeable me he was a delegate. He and the opposite delegates prized their credentials, which obtained them on the floor and within the front row. The lodge was additionally the place we picked up our credentials each morning. These had been very tightly managed, and one staffer advised me they had been truly locked in a financial institution vault until that morning. Each morning, a huge collection of print newspapers and magazines had been supplied in the foyer. Some published special convention editions only for attendees. This, coupled with sparse WiFi access at many Charlotte locations, meant I read more print news than online that week for the first time since I can remember.
In the convention hall
Although the caucuses and other meetings held at the convention corridor were open to the general public, there was at all times a line and naturally plenty of security to get into the constructing. But this was the most important hub of exercise in the course of the day (which is why stay media photographs at the area through the day seem like no one was there). It was here the place individuals might buy memorabilia and mingle with large names. I met James Carville at his e-book signing, where he doodled on paper in between signing books. And whereas sitting in an open seating area, I realized Gloria Allred — the outspoken victims’-rights lawyer — was sitting right behind me. As I saw commonly right here, she politely posed for pictures with delegates and attendees earlier than saying she wanted to get back to work.
In the arena
I visited the arena earlier than speeches and was there every night for a lot of the speeches. The enormity of the place was astounding, notably when empty. We had a birds-eye view of the proceedings (which means we sat within the rafters) however the energy was palpable even there. When it got here time for the speeches, the area could be very loud or you could possibly hear a pin drop depending on the speaker. This was, not surprisingly, more likely with the big speakers, like Invoice Clinton and Barack Obama, but the intimacy of the venue was most amplified during Michelle Obama’s speech. Joe Biden, in an astute rhetorical transfer, even lowered his voice at key moments, ensuing within the viewers quieting down as nicely. How the audience plays on screen is key to those occasions, and the signage was central to that objective. Repeatedly, attendees were handed signs (e.g., “Fired up | Ready for Joe” and “Ahead | Not Again”) at key moments. Simply so we’re clear, these aren’t signs that attendees brought themselves; indeed, signs of any form were prohibited from the enviornment, as were “whole fruit,” “voice enhancement units, such as bullhorns,” and “baseballs, softballs, and so on.”
Over the air
Media were in all places within the area, from Discuss Show Row at the entrance to studio suites within the arena itself. Principally they have been focused on their work, seemingly ignoring much of the hub-bub going down behind them. But during Invoice Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s speeches, I seen the journalists really turning around to see the audio system in person. There was additionally a media presence at the “Epicentre” in Charlotte and that is where reveals like Morning Joe on MSNBC have been filmed. The media workspace within the basement of the convention corridor was extraordinarily quiet, with everybody from C-SPAN to Buzzfeed to The Huffington Put up having a devoted workspace. The key moments lined have been after all the speeches, however the “God” language debacle acquired instantaneous opining and analysis, as this was likely the only unscripted event of the convention.