Friday, November 16, 2007

Press focuses on food at Denver walkthrough

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

While I know that there was likely talk of radio frequencies, camera placements and floor access, the press, or at least the press covering the press at the media walkthrough, chose to focus on the issue of food at the 2008 Democratic Convention:

The economic challenges facing journalism are grave, but they haven't managed to kill one of the industry's most venerated traditions: the all-expenses-paid trip of dubious news value. Despite planned remarks by Democratic National Committee chairman (and recovering screamer) Howard Dean, the 2008 Democratic National Convention's Fall Media Walk-Through, staged on November 13 at the Pepsi Center, didn't promise to generate significant headlines. Nevertheless, representatives of media organizations planning to cover next August's bash flocked to Denver by the hundreds. Most of them learned next to nothing, but they ate very well.

Granted, the walk-through's breakfast spread could have been more diverse. Pepsi Center nosheries such as the Nutty Bavarian were closed, and even though the food tables sat next to displays of cotton candy and Dippin' Dots, the menu was dominated by bagels and pastries. Still, the journos seemed satisfied as they took seats along one side of the arena while images of natural wonder — mountains, streams, Denver Broncos cheerleaders — played on the overhead JumboTron. I wound up next to several representatives from the New York Times, which makes sense, since seemingly every third person at the venue wore a name tag stamped with the paper's name. (Who at the Times was forced to remain back east? A couple of interns, maybe?) The Times scribe nearest me asked a colleague, "You're staying tonight, right?" Upon receiving an affirmative answer, he proclaimed, "Party at Elway's!"

Shortly thereafter, Leah Daughtry, the convention's CEO, greeted the assembled masses and pointed out the event's primary prop: a blue balloon, affixed to a folding chair, that signified the main podium. Then, after platitudes (and precious few specifics) from a handful of other convention execs, press reps toured the facility prior to engaging in a Q&A that touched on several important matters. For instance, a WNYC radio employee complained that "the food choices in Boston," where the 2004 confab took place, "were limited to Dunkin' Donuts only," adding that "the Republicans fed us pretty well."

"Oh, that's a low blow," Daughtry joked before asserting that Dems "have a reputation for throwing better parties.... We like to eat and have a good time. So don't worry about the food."

I've been looking for a picture of that blue balloon. If anyone has seen one, please drop a comment or email. Update: Thanks to Aaron in the comments, we have our blue baloon!


Aaron said...

Hi Matt!

My name is Aaron Silverstein and I am an editor at the Colorado Political site where I write under the name TakeBackTheHouse.

As a new media journalist, I am covering the convention, and I was present at the media walkthrough and the blogger break-out session.

I have a new website...

It is dedicated to a strange sideline I have taken on concerning the convention. Please take a look.

I have a gift for you in my flickr account. It is a bit blurry, but feel free to share it however you wish.
(That is Leah Daughtry at the podium, btw.)

There is another of my photos from that day that I used in my story at

Blogger credentials for the Democratic National Convention Hotlist