Reporters get the lowdown on logistics of covering the Tampa Republican National Convention

"This election is the most significant in my lifetime, " the RNC Chair roared. "Making Barack Obama a one term president is a priority not just for America, but for the entire world."

The rest of the comments from the dais were much more process oriented about the logistics of handling the convention.

Freeman will be the general contractor for the convention, while Bright House Networks will be the exclusive provider for telecommunication services (let's pray there's not a serious storm during the event or there will go the connections of 13,000 reporters).

SP Plus Gameday of Orlando is the transportation and management provider company. The company (which is also working the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in February) will provide the buses for the thousands of delegates scattered in hotels throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. They'll also be the company that will be running a continuing shuttle between the Forum and the Tampa Convention Center, which will be the official workspace for the reporters to file their stories from (officials say it's 1,000 feet between the two sites).

One of the most important items that locals who live work or may protest in Tampa care about is the "footprint" of the convention, the area where the Secret Service will cordon off around the Times Forum and allow only those credentialed to enter.

Officials both on stage and in individual settings today said that information will not be revealed for months, with one security official saying that information may not be revealed until June. However, it would be stunning if residents who live in nearby Harbor Island wouldn't be told about such a perimeter until then.

As the Tampa Tribune's Christian Wade reported on Tuesday, representatives from neighborhood groups in Harbor Island the Channelside District will be meeting in private later this week to learn of what Mayor Bob Buckhorn's chief of staff Santiago Corrada says is a "conceptual footprint," which he leaked would not affect local residents.

Back at today's tour, after reporters got bored with touring a relatively empty Forum, they then could walk (or take a shuttle) to the nearby convention center. There they could receive a tour or just walk on their own to check out the numerous rooms that will be available for reporters, as well as "Radio row" on the top floor of the hall where numerous talk show hosts will be broadcasting 24/7 during the late August event.

If nothing else came out of today's event, let us say that the volunteers working for the RNC have their act down cold.. Smiles, greetings, and helpful hints were flowing from the blue-shirted helpers whose job is to provide service with a smile and give the out of town press a taste of Southern Hospitality.

However, Cl did notice one small slip-up in the official Fall Media Walk-Through guide distributed to reporters in their bag of schwag. In the section under "Things You Might Not Know About Tampa Bay" it lists that "Tampa Bay boasts some of the nicest weather in the country. The average temperature during the summer is around 82.."

82? Yeah, at night .

  • broadcast television crew members learn about logistics at the Forum

In 264 days one of the biggest events in the city of Tampa's history will take place.

That's when the 2012 Republican National Convention will convene, and on Tuesday afternoon officials with the Republican National Committee hosted hundreds of local and national broadcasters and print reporters for the relevant information that news organizations will need to cover the four-day event.

"It's GREAT to be here in Tampa," RNC Chair Reince Priebus shouted to begin the first part of the session inside the St. Pete Times Forum. "We're on the very floor where the next President of the United States will be nominated! Are you with me?"

A handful of members of the Committee on Arrangement cheered on Priebus, while the majority of the floor sat by in stony silence.

Priebus main job these days is to be the main attack dog against Barack Obama, a job he fulfilled with relish on Meet The Press on Sunday. But in Tampa, he transitioned into being top cheerleader for the effort to make next August's nominating convention a smooth, sleek machine.

But he just couldn't help himself.


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