Friday, June 06, 2008

God help us

Post TV critic Joanne Ostrow:
Katie, Brian and Charlie are coming. So are Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Schieffer, Jeff Greenfield and the familiar voices from "All Things Considered."

About 15,000 members of the media will descend on Denver during the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 25-28, none of them more visible than the TV-news stars for whose coverage this event is really staged. And right now, the national electronic media are scrambling to secure key positions downtown where they can plug in and beam out. . . .

Opportunities to take part in, or at least gawk at, the festivities will be plentiful: Wyclef Jean will perform at a party sponsored by Rock the Vote, a nonprofit voter-registration initiative fostered by MTV, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House on the convention's opening night. Jon Stewart will tape "The Daily Show" at University of Denver's Newman Center for four nights as part of his "Indecision 2008" faux coverage (already sold out).

Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will anchor for MSNBC from a stage constructed in a parking lot near Union Station (pending a permit). NBC's "Today" is considering beaming from Sam's #3, a diner on 15th Street.

MySpace is talking to The Corner Office, a downtown restaurant/martini bar at 1401 Curtis St., to position itself as "blogger central," open to the public, said Lee Brenner, MySpace political director. CNN's "Express Yourself" trailer full of interactive kiosks will be in and around Denver, open to the curious. The Denver Post will team with in its convention coverage.

"Things are filling up," said Kevin Scott of the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, who is fielding a variety of media requests. "Vacant lots won't be vacant." . . .

"Denver's going to get a lot of focus," Phil Alongi, NBC News head of special coverage. "Every network news program will originate from there — 'Today,' 'Nightly,' 'Meet the Press,' Keith, Chris, Morning Joe (Scarborough). Tim (Russert) is going to be there as long as his guests are in town." . . .

"It's the papal visit, the Summit of the Eight, the opening of DIA" [sic]— the kind of internationally important preplanned local event for which there's concern about possible disruptions, according to Channel 9's Tim Ryan. . . .

Both local and national media outlets expect to offer live-streaming coverage on websites. Not to be upstaged, the Democratic National Convention Committee will put live, high-definition, gavel-to-gavel coverage on its website, Media representatives are scheduled for another walk-through with convention officials June 18. Now that Barack Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee, undecided elements like podium design, theme and schedule will be fast-tracked.

"I've covered three national conventions," said Brad Remington, news director at Channel 31. "The Republicans tend to be more organized; the Democrats tend to be more fun."

New visions of hell.

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