My first day at the Democratic National Convention
When we were only a couple thousand feet from our destination, we got our first taste of convention traffic. We waited and waited in the car, finally choosing to walk the remainder of the distance to the Charlotte Convention Center where we needed to get our media credentials.
Dante, Kristen, and I walked to one entrance of the convention center only to find it blocked by Secret Service and inaccessible without proper credentials. The only problem — we needed to get into the building to get our credentials! We journeyed to the other entrance of the center about two blocks away only to be told to go another way. Eventually, we were able to get into the building. Once inside, we were immediately met by security guards, a metal detector, and a security line.
Next, we had to get those elusive credentials. We went downstairs to the media work area to try to meet up with Scholastic’s NBC News contacts, but were refused because we hadn’t gotten credentials yet. We walked up several escalators and through numerous crowds of people to arrive at the media credential area where we would finally receive our very own ones. The next few days, we will have to come to the very same room to get credentials for each day.
We rushed back downstairs to the media work area to meet with the NBC contacts. But we soon learned that this was the work area for the affiliates, and that the national NBC News work area was at the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the first two days of the Democratic National Convention would be held. Kristen had to leave to travel by car with my dad to take a look at the place we would be staying for all three nights, so Dante and I continued on. At the arena, we were pointed in different directions and went around in circles a couple of times. Dante made several unsuccessful attempts to call our NBC contact. Inside the arena, networks like NBC, CNN, and CBS had already set up broadcast areas. Just outside of the arena, radio stations including NPR and various political talk shows were also set up.
Eventually, Dante received a phone call back from Mindy, our NBC News contact. She met us inside the arena building and led us outside to a white tent labeled NBC. Passing by many policemen and women on the way, Mindy said, “I’ve seen police on all sorts of methods of transportation today. They’re on horses, Segways, in cars, on scooters, on motorcycles.” So true.
When we finally arrived at the NBC News work area, which is located inside a tent next to the arena, Dante and I got our NBC credentials, as well as credentials for Kristen. These will allow us to work in the tent alongside NBC News employees. The two of us headed to the back of the tent and collapsed in the chairs and grabbed a quick snack after a trek that had brought us through half of downtown Charlotte from one building to another, one location to another.
We took a train from the arena back to the convention center, and Kristen and my dad picked us up outside the center in mid-afternoon. None of us had guessed it would take that long to get a couple of credentials! The four of us drove to a Cracker Barrel restaurant for a long coveted, refreshing lunch. We then headed over to the place we are staying to watch the first night of the convention on TV. But for as tired as we might be after a long day of traveling, we know we have to get our energy up for tomorrow — the real work begins bright an early at 8 a.m.!
—Kid Reporter Andrew Liang