Covering the DNC: Final Thoughts
When I first received the assignment to cover the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, I really did not know what to expect. I was missing an overnight school field trip to Savannah, Georgia, but I knew that the convention would be equally if not more fun. My dad and I arrived in Charlotte on the morning of Tuesday, September 4, and met editors, Dante and Kristen, at the Charlotte airport. From that moment, we would all begin a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Queen City.
Our NBC contact met us at the arena and led us to the NBC Network workspace, under a big white tent outside the arena. There, we received our NBC credentials, which could help us get back into this white tent anytime we needed to.
We had to procure separate credentials at the start of each day, so every morning, that was the first thing we had to do in order to get anywhere. The credentials helped us access media workspaces and also the Time Warner Cable Arena where the convention was held every night.
During the second day, I had the chance to meet delegates, other journalists, and many people. Dante and I attended the Youth Council Meeting, an event aimed at encouraging young people to vote for President Obama.
Afterwards, all three of us traveled to the arena for an interviewing with Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for NBC. I was given time for one question, but she kindly allowed me to squeeze in a couple more, even though it was between short segments of her show. Outside of the NBC suite, our contact, Mindy, introduced me to Jose Diaz-Balart, anchor for the Spanish speaking network, Telemundo.
That night, the two editors and I traveled to the Time Warner Cable Arena, which was a short distance from the Charlotte Convention Center. We were excited to watch that night’s convention and to be part of an event that comes around as often as the Summer Olympics. Yet somehow, the credentials that Dante had just weren’t the right ones. Waiting in the atrium of the arena, Dante and Kristen made frantic phone calls to our contacts to no avail. Yet 45 minutes later when we tried again to get in, a smiling volunteer told us we had the right credentials and let us in. So why weren’t we able to get in the first time?
The highlight of the night was former President Bill Clinton. He gave a powerful speech, working to disprove every criticism the Republicans had of the Obama administration, and he talked for nearly an entire hour, defending a President that had been a political opponent of his for so long.
The final day of the convention started bright and early with an interview at the exact same place where we had interviewed Andrea Mitchell the day before. I had the opportunity to talk to Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of the NBC Today Show, while she was still on the temporary set of the Today Show. Given time for three questions, I crammed in as many questions as I could, eventually asking around ten. Savannah thought it was really funny that I was missing a field trip to Savannah, Georgia, to interview a reporter named Savannah. How ironic!
My third day at the convention was filled with writing articles, and it was fun to work on so many assignments at the same time. We ran back and forth between the convention center and the arena, and during one of those trips, I was briefly interviewed by Kyra Phillips of Headline News (HLN) on live television. Then, as I was on my way back to the convention center with Kristen, we bumped into Steven Sherman, the oldest delegate at the convention at age 91.
That night would be a big and crowded night, so we took our seats in the arena at 3 PM. The convention was set to begin at 5 PM and end around midnight. That night, we spent 9 hours in the arena, watching performances by James Taylor, Marc Anthony, and the Foo Fighters and listening to speeches by Caroline Kennedy, Kerry Washington, and then finally the Vice President, Joe Biden, who accepted the Vice Presidential nomination. Minutes later, President Obama took the stage and in the middle of 20,000 cheering supporters, gave the biggest speech of the night, accepting the Democratic Party Presidential nomination to conclude the convention.
Now, we are getting ready to leave Charlotte and are about to have our last meal here in the beautiful Queen City—Dante wants barbeque.
So those were my three days at the convention in a nutshell. Everything was so exciting and so fast paced, I barely had time to think or to sleep. But I gained so much knowledge and I worked on so many reports for Scholastic. I met so many great people and met my editors for the first time in two years! I cannot say thank you enough to my editors for the wonderful chance to bring the convention to other kids through Scholastic News. It was amazing to work with them. And it was a true honor to report to you from this convention.
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang