The Xcel Center and the Republican convention planners invited the local media to tour the venue on Day 10 of the buildout for the convention. I brought the video camera along to see the differences and to get an idea of how they would arrange the accommodations for New Media as well as the traditional press corps. As it turns out, they’ve already made quite a bit of headway, and the digs are taking shape already:
Our tour guides today were the convention’s Press Secretary Joanna Burgos and Deputy Press Secretary Melissa Subbotin. Parts of the tour weren’t terribly well lit, but it was good enough to shoot. The outlines of the layout are pretty clear, and it looks well thought out.
For those who will be blogging from the convention, Blogger Row appears at about 6:40 in the video. Bloggers in this area will sit in two tiers, and as you can see, they will all have a clear view of the convention floor. In 2004, we got positioned adjacent to Radio Row at a few long tables. That actually helped in landing interviews — a lot of VIPs passed by our table — but it kept us from seeing most of the activity in the main hall at Madison Square Garden.
In fact, we will get better seats than those in Radio Row this time. The Radio Row denizens may get a better view of the protestors outside, although it’s more likely that they will be quite a ways away from the entrance to the Xcel Center. Radio Row is the last part of the video tour.
If you want a free trip to St. Paul as a blogger, you can enter a contest at the RNC’s convention blog (via Jazz Shaw). Sharpen up your video skills and submit your entry to their YouTube channel, and you could win a 3-day, 2-night trip and a day on the campaign trail with John McCain: