Convention Buzz

By Beacon Staff

Last week, as I enjoyed a family vacation in Denver, the excitement for an upcoming event was palpable. It wasn’t an athletic team – the Rockies are dismal this year – or a big rock band causing the fuss. It was the Democratic National Convention.

Decorative signs were being hung around the city. The hotel staff was complaining about extra hours, my airport shuttle driver wondering if he’d make enough extra to cover his child support. I alternately wished my vacation had been scheduled later so I could experience the hoopla firsthand and felt relieved I didn’t have to deal with the craziness.

But it seems residents of the host city aren’t the only ones all jacked up about the political event. The media is in full gear, covering every conceivable angle of the convention, and judging by viewer predictions, plenty of citizens around the country seem unusually excited, too.

The New York Times reports today that “… some (news division executives) are predicting that Mr. Obama’s address will be the most-watched convention speech in a generation.” CNN will spend close to $100,000 to use an aerial camera, usually reserved for football games, to compete for viewers and get special angles of Obama as he accepts the party nomination at Invesco Field.

In other tech news, the Democratic Party says it has granted press credentials to around 120 bloggers, making this the most blogged about political convention in history. That, along with the estimated total 15,000 media in the city, means a huge need for broadband connectivity. According to this PC World piece, the last time the Democratic convention was held in Denver (1908) the hall was wired with 12 phones and six special operators. Today, Quest said it added 2,600 data lines and 3,400 voice circuits to support all the digital traffic.

Here’s some other interesting news stories leading up to today’s 3 p.m. kickoff:

Slate previews Michelle Obama’s speech tonight, saying she needs to help humanize her husband. And the San Francisco Chronicle reports that this Democratic National Convention will be the most diverse in its history, including a record number of delegates younger than 30, with thousands more young people flocking to Denver to be part of the historic event. That will include 19-year-old Raphael Graybill of Great Falls, Montana’s youngest delegate.

The funniest piece, though, may be one about the upcoming Republican National Convention. A “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” billboard welcomes “rich, white oligarchs” to Minneapolis. A commenter suggested Denver should have one that reads: “Welcome, latte-sipping, arugula-munching delegates.”