RNC bloggers more privileged than delegates

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I learned today from the King of Fools, who attended the Texas Republican Convention as a delegate and with media credentials, that a number of bloggers (including Michele of "A Small Victory", SlantPoint, Wizbang, Captain's Quarters and Matt Margolis) have been offered credentials to the Republican National Convention. The King offers some good convention-blogging advice from his experience -- things like don't forget to eat.

Here's the part of the invite:

For the first time, bloggers will hold an on-site presence at the Republican National Convention called "Bloggers Corner." Positioned near Radio Row, credentialed bloggers will have the opportunity to connect with delegates, guests and other surrogates for interviews, and to provide original content, including multimedia, to their audiences. Through this behind-the-scenes look at the convention's proceedings and events, bloggers will play an important role in telling the story of the 2004 Republican Convention.

Bloggers Corner will be located in Madison Square Garden's Theater Lobby in the corridor adjacent to Radio Row. Electrical outlets, tabled work stations and necessary hook-ups for laptop and other portable computers will be available for high-speed Internet and Intranet access. Main TV monitors will also be accessible in all convention common areas including Bloggers Corner and will carry closed circuit coverage of all floor activities.

Bloggers will be credentialed to move about all media areas with access to the Media Center and the news conference center for briefings.

Now I am pleased to see that bloggers are being accorded this kind of recognition, but as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, I'm starting to feel like a second class citizen. Yesterday, I received a packet of info from the convention, which included a list of prohibited items. These are things we won't be permitted to carry within the security perimeter. Included in the list are laptop computers, camcorders, cameras with long lenses, bags for carrying cameras or binoculars, backpacks of any kind. So it appears that observers of this event -- members of the media, including bloggers -- will be accorded far more freedom and trust than actual participants in the event -- the delegates.

I had really hoped to be able to do some blogging of my own, and even e-mailed someone on the organizing committee asking about the availability of Wi-Fi in the convention hall. I've started to look into wireless web on my cellphone and using Azure or another PalmOS-based Movable Type client as an alternative to the laptop, but there's no guarantee that they won't decide to ban cellphones and PDAs -- the letter emphasized that the list of banned items is not exhaustive.

Most of the other banned items are the sorts of things you're not allowed to bring on airplanes, but the ban on laptops, camcorders, and camera bags strikes me as just not wanting to have to bother screening them, and who cares if the delegates are inconvenienced. It reminds me of the early days of TSA screenings when they were confiscating nail clippers. Umbrellas are banned, too, as are containers of any kind. Given that Madison Square Garden is about a mile from the hotel, I had planned to do what I used to do when I lived two miles off campus in college -- put anything I might need for the day in a small backpack and then plan not to return to the hotel until after the evening session. I suppose I might be able to fit my glasses and contact lens case, Kleenex pack, map and guidebooks, Oklahoma pins for trading with other delegates, business cards, my digital camera, the agenda, platform, rules, and any other bits of paper and ephemera they hand out, and a NY Post somewhere in the pockets of my pants or my official Oklahoma delegation blazer, but a little backpack would make life easier. I'd even settle for one of those transparent backpacks the students have to carry in dangerous schools. It would be nice to be allowed to bring in a bottle (plastic, of course) of Diet Coke and a bag of M&Ms or trail mix, but it looks like that would violate the "no container" rule.

Thanks to SlantPoint for posting the invitation letter, so now I know who at the convention to bug about bringing in my laptop.

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» Convention Delegate Woes from Slant Point

I found this post today from an Oklahoma delegate to the upcoming RNC Convention, expressing consternation at the Host Committee policies preventing delegates from bringing items like "laptop computers, camcorders, cameras with long lenses, bags for ca... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 1, 2004 8:09 PM.

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