First Day at the Convention
More than 5,000 members of the media are reporting from the Rebublican National Convention here in Tampa, Florida, and I’m one of them! I lucked into this plum assignment as a member of the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps. I live Orlanda, which is about one hour away from Tampa\. Along with fellow reporter Shelby Fallin, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, I am here for three days of politics and reporting.
We are staying at a home near the convention center. Our first stop on a busy first day—after parking at a downtown church—was to pick up credentials at a nearby hotel. We then walked to the MSNBC broadcast booth in an offsite shopping plaza to wait to be interviewed. Everything is fairly close, but the weather is hot and muggy, so it can be tiring. We are also pelted with rain in short bursts about once an hour.
Shelby and I were ushered into the MSNBC makeup area, where we we got the royal treatment from facial cleanser to lipstick to eyeshadow and mascara. The makeup person then rubbed a nourishing lotion in our hair to make it shiny for the cameras. It was exciting!
And then, just as we were about to go on live TV, we were bumped. Ann Romney, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, was speaking, which was originally scheduled for the night before. Because of Hurricane Isaac, the convention speaking schedule is continually changing, so you never know what’s going to happen next. Tomorrow, they told us, come back tomorrow.
We finally arrived at the convention center where NBC is letting us set up shop. One of the runners there (a college student from Princeton) gave us a grand tour of the center and the Times Forum building where the convention is actually being held. The convention center and Forum are two different buildings. We ride in small buses between the two venues.
The NBC workspaces are beautiful, but really small. We visited the set for Telemundo, CNBC, and NBC affiliates from all over the world.
We are now back in the NBC media space eating a great dinner of turkey meatloaf, chicken picatta, and cheesy mashed potatoes before going into the hall to hear tonight’s keynote speaker, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Photo: Kid Reporters Topanga Sena (front) and Shelby Fallin in the make-up chairs before heading to the MSNBC set. (Dante A. Ciampaglia)