This is your typical filing center and workspace for large media companies. This is USA Today. I'd bet the New York Times and Boston Globe have twice as much each. They have lots of people, obviously, covering lots of stories. This is a large two-level tent that is built immediately in front of Fleet Center.
Back inside the Fleet Center, here is where press members who don't have assigned workspace (which costs a fortune) work. A large number of these folks are foreign journalists. A fight usually breaks out every few minutes because this space is first-come-first-served and if you leave, it's gone. Someone invariably tries to claim it permanently and in the world of pack journalism, there's a certain order of discipline imposed.
The folks monitor the "action" on large TVs.
Same room from the other end. I know what you're thinking. If they just go and watch TV and write, why do they actually go to Boston? Well, they don't. We actually do go talk to people and take notes, and record, and dig around, but at some point we have to be able to take what's in our heads and put it in our computers, and somehow we have to figure out how to get it back to you. This facility has no WiFi access, so while I'm able to write stuff here, I can't actually send it, for that, I need....
To go back to the hotel in Cambirdge, about an hour process. Sure, it's not pretty, but technology for online folks is easy. A digital camera, a USB connection, image-editing software, a program to write in. We also have an audio editing system on another laptop where we produce the stories and then we record them in mpeg format and ftp them back to St. Paul where the good folks download them into a digital audio playback system for air. For online material, I can do it all here, but I have to run down to the hotel lobby and sit in order to hit the WiFi node to connect with MPR's servers. This, for example, has to be written while connected to the network.
You don't need much. A bottle of aspirin, some water, CSPAN (just to keep an ear on the convention and, in my case, to stay focused), and of course a pillow for the lower back.
Dennis Kucinich stopped by to talk to the Minnesota delegates on Wednesday, and then to the media. Not sure where everybody is but I mostly see Pat Kessler from WCCO TV, Eric Eskola from WCCO Radio, Ashley Grant from the AP. And, of course, Michael Khoo, right, from MPR.
Al Franken gave the Wednesday morning pep talk to delegates.
I was sitting in the lobby here writing some material when a French TV crew set up to interview Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn. The interview and Oberstar's answers were entirely in French. It sounded beautiful and we'd love to know what they were talking about.
-- Bob Collins