. . . Thursday July 29, 2004

The Ups and Downs of a Media Powerhouse

Last night at the convention, I witnessed firsthand the ups and downs of being a blogger at this convention. At around 8pm, I appeared on Headline News. You can see the piece here (Windows Media format I am ashamed to say). I met several CNN bigs in the green room, I didn’t fiddle with my earpiece, it all went off pretty well. My mom even called to tell me that although she didn’t think Chris Heinz looked all that good the night before, I looked very handsome. Take that, Beantown.

I was riding high. But just moments later, out the of the corner of my eye I saw a small group gathering around someone. When I got closer, I realized that it was Omarosa. It only took a quick once over of her arena credentials (which at the Fleet serve as public resumes and status billboards) for me to realize that Omarosa had way better access than me. Welcome back down to the rung of humanity a notch or two below disliked reality television participants.

Later in the evening, the blogger clan finally found a party we could get into. It was a shindig hosted in part by some of the guys from Google. There were a couple of celebrities, a member of congress and although our blogging group is about 80% male, the party was at least 50% female. People wanted to be where we were. Incidentally, as one who survived the dot com boom/bust cycle, I should inform my fellow bloggers that just about the time women who didn’t work for an internet start-up began showing up for our parties, we went over the cliff. Nevertheless, for the moment, we were all munching on free, Greek appetizers, gulping down complimentary brews and basically living large.

A few hours later, the last of the group found ourselves riding in the back of a cab as we naively tried to find a late night anything in Boston. By the time our search was over, we ended up standing in a line at the 7-11 in Harvard Square. And thus it was hammered home that we had slid back down to the bottom of the DNC party totem pole. And our fifteen minutes of complimentary drinks? Over.

When I got back to my hotel, bleary-eyed, one moment from the night kept popping into my head. After taking some photos on the floor of the arena, I was waiting for one of the giant elevators back up to the seating areas. So was Ted Kennedy. Security officials were informing the Senator that the fire marshalls had temporarily cut off access to one of the floors because of overcrowding. Therefore, Kennedy and his entourage would not all be able to get to their luxury box.

Kennedy grew visibly and rightfully irritated. He asked why he should be penalized because too many people were on the floor? He explained again and again that he was promised a box with all of its seats empty and waiting. At one point, I’m pretty sure he asked the elevator security guy: “Do you know that my committee appropriated the funds for this convention?”

Thinking about that exchange made me a feel a little better. If Ted Kennedy has access issues at a Democratic event in Boston, then it really can happen to anyone. And by the way, when I glanced down to check out Kennedy’s access credentials, I couldn’t help but notice that Omarosa’s were better than his too.

Concentration is important!