Media Circus Descends on Denver

Journalists, Journalists, Everywhere

Occupying more than 150,000 square feet of media workspace real estate outside the Pepsi Center are journalists from 130 countries.

"The American presidential election is not just an American story, it's a European story and a world story," said Andrew Steele, the British Broadcasting Corporation's Washington bureau chief, who has about 50 people in Denver covering the convention.

Veteran Canadian correspondent Eric Sorensen of Gobal Television said Canadians are particularly interested in Obama's candidacy.

"It's his youth, his charisma and the prospect of the first African-American president given the history of race relations in this country and what that says about American society," Sorensen said.

New this year is a big push by the Democratic Party to credential 120 bloggers -- four times as many as the 2004 convention that credentialed 30 bloggers for the first time in history.

Blogger Abhi Tripathi, 32, of Houston arrived Monday. He founded his Sepia political blog targeting South Asian Americans four years ago with the goal of getting accredited for the convention.

He'll have additional support this year, with Google and YouTube hosting a lounge where bloggers can upload photos and video, blog and then get a free massage or smoothie.

Fake Journalists Alongside TV Heavyweights

Fake journalists, too, are broadcasting live from Denver.

Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and "the best f@#!ing news team ever" is broadcasting live from the convention -- parking a huge bus outside the convention hall across the street from CNN's bus and a nearby restaurant the cable news network has taken over and renamed the "CNN Grill."

Not to be outdone, MSNBC has plastered a gigantic logo sign on the side of a nearby building.

Doubling down on Americans' interest in this year's election, the cable news networks are planning wall-to-wall coverage of both conventions with MSNBC hosting 20 hours of live coverage each day.

The three network anchors -- ABC News' Charlie Gibson, CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams are all in Denver anchoring nightly live specials.

The logistics of navigating a robust security effort and getting around spread-out Denver delivered an early challenge to sleep deprived journalists as they arrived for the convention.

Anti-War Protesters

Anti-war protesters shut down access to the Pepsi Center Sunday and created hour-long lines for news media and convention staff left standing in the hot sun.

"We'll have three hours a night of live coverage for 'The News Hour With Jim Lehrer' and we're late for our rehearsal," said PBS senior correspondent Margaret Warner, standing in a long line of journalists outside the security checkpoint to get into the Pepsi Center.

Ifill said PBS will have "complete" coverage of the conventions every night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

"Unlike some coverage, we're going to make sure people who want to see the convention see the convention, and then do analysis secondarily," she said.

But even with the hassles of getting around Denver and long security lines, veteran anchor Judy Woodruff said it's worth it to cover this election.

"It is a circus, but it's an important circus," said Woodruff, a former CNN anchor now a PBS senior correspondent.

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