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Our little outfit was issued one hall pass and one perimeter pass at the beginning of the convention. Our esteemed leader Sam was able to fandangle an extra hall pass for Thursday and we heard that our perimeter pass was now upgraded to an arena pass.
It was getting close to 1 pm so I took the perimeter pass and planned to meet up with the rest of the crew there. I took my usual route to the Pepsi Center since I heard there will be a shuttle there to Mile High. Sure enough, there were a hundred people from the press lined up to get on. Then there is an announcement saying that the perimeter passes can no longer get you into the stadium at the request of the Secret Service. So, no shuttle for me.
The distance between the two was less than a mile so I figure I’d hike there to see if I could get in. As soon as I got to the road a mini-bus with a hand-written sign saying Press Shuttle pulled up and let some guy on. I hustled over, flashed my street cred and they let me in.
Good thing. It didn’t take long before we saw the end of the line. It turned out to be about a mile long. The cop who was riding with us said that there were no port-a-potties along the route and he had no idea how the crowd will hold out. It didn’t look like it was moving at all. Somehow, there was still parking here, although it would set you back $40.
The security checkpoint tent we had to go through was identical to the one at the Pepsi Center, except that there was no line at all. It was just for press.
Inside I decided to get lost, since it worked so well for me on Monday. I first tried to get inside the stadium to see what would happen and the lady in the red shirt said nope, that’s the only one that won’t get you in. Well, at least they didn’t try to kick me out.
Since I was here early enough, I was able to find an unguarded entrance to the arena and get inside. Again, like all of the other stagecraft produced by the DNC, it is impressive.
After asking around, I found the press elevator that brought me up to the fourth floor which was just for press. You can get a different view of the “pedestrian” halls from here. Again, dipping into that endless reservoir of blogging content called Get Yourself Lost, I started walking in the direction no one else was going.
I’ve got to tell ya, the press has a sweet deal going here. Air conditioned and everyone has a perfect view. Each seat is assigned to a press outlet; I saw Glamour seated between The Nation and Harper’s. Everyone has their own power outlets, high-speed LAN (that’s 2855 Kb/s down, 1323 Kb/s up with a latency of 69ms) and phone (ours aren’t plugged in). (Some lucky crew has a bank of large LCDs to work from.)
After a while I found the press organizers room and they pointed me all the way back to the other side of the stadium to the mini-blogger lounge. Don’t know why but they have given us the best viewing area for the press; we are right in front of the podium. Good thing they specified mini-bloggers because they are packing us in here like sardines (I’m squeezed between Under The Dome and Talking Points Memo). Still, it’s overflowing and we are going to start rotating. We get 30 minutes in the seat and then we are kicked out to roam around for an hour before they allow us back in.
And to leave you on a happy note, they have just put on the big screens the emergency evacuation plan. You know, just in case.