Saturday, August 25, 2012

Observer is covering conventions from your perspective

Bloomberg will bring 90 people to Charlotte. CNN is sending 100. The Fox News Channel, another 100. In all, 15,000 journalists are predicted to visit for the Democratic National Convention. 

Can you imagine them missing anything you’d want to know? I can.

On Friday, the Observer told you that the Secret Service plans to seal off streets in the heart of Ballantyne during DNC week. Bloomberg, Fox and CNN did not.

Not their mission. But it will be part of ours.

Our media visitors are here for the nation. We’re here for you. That means reporting all that the nation cares about, plus how this convention touches you and your community.

If you’ve read the Observer lately, you know we are already reporting in-depth on the local impact. But we are also prepared for the actual convention. 

In all, the Observer has assigned 85 journalists to cover this moment. They are spread among eight teams, each tackling a specific topic. Those topics range from politics on the convention floor, to protests in the streets, to parties across the region.

One team will focus solely on how Charlotte is doing on this world stage. Were arrivals orderly at the airport? Were there enough cabs? Does the Wi-Fi work? Can visitors find enough places to eat? Are the security checkpoints running smoothly? 

High-caliber extras

For our coverage of the convention itself, we’ll be joined by an additional 20 journalists from our McClatchy Washington Bureau and our sister McClatchy newspapers. This group includes Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts and humor columnist Dave Barry.

We’ve also partnered with, a nonpartisan journalism organization based in Washington, D.C. Politico specializes in coverage of the president, Congress and elections. It will have more than 50 journalists here. 

In fact, for DNC week, our newspaper will also be Politico’s designated newspaper. Politico will suspend publication of its printed paper in Washington and, instead, join us in producing a special edition for conventioneers. The best of that edition will also appear in copies of the Observer going to our regular readers. 

All told, we will draw from the work of more than 150 journalists. And that’s not all. Our wire services will continue to give us the best of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, among others.

We have the same partnerships in place in Tampa for our coverage of this week’s Republican National Convention. We’ve also sent three Observer journalists there and will be picking up stories from the Tampa Bay Times.

Our stepped up coverage of the RNC begins today with stories on Page 1A and a special report on the Tampa convention in place of our Big Picture section.

We’re listening to you

All of these journalists need your perspective. Elections should center on the concerns of voters. What would you ask either candidate for president? Email your question to reporter Tim Funk, (please put “candidate question” in the subject line and specify which candidate to ask).

We’ve requested interviews with both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. If they agree to speak with us, we’ll ask a representative sample of your questions. If not, we’ll still publish the questions for you to see.

Here is a question submitted by Amy Sass of Matthews. 

“Mr. President, If the Republicans retain majority in the House after November, and the Democrats retain majority in the Senate, if you win re-election, what will you do differently over the next four years that will reduce the partisanship in both houses on the major issues facing us today – economy, debt, health care, etc. – so this country can really start moving forward?”

I’d say that’s a good question worth asking both candidates. Who has another?


Anonymous said...

Hardy har har Thames. You are here for you and to advance the McClatchy agenda of causing controversy. You are not from here - you are an outsider. So spare us the Observer is your friend baloney. Pathetic.

Garth Vader said...

How many reporters did the Observer dedicate to the Libertarian Convention? You know, the Convention that nominated the guy who served as governor for twice as long as Romney, and didn't lose his most recent election against a Democrat by 17 points?

Rick Thames said...

Actually, I'm a native North Carolinian who grew up reading the Charlotte Observer. And I'm proud to be part of a staff that wants to help. We do value journalism that reveals important truths for our readers. But I'd think that's controversial only for people who preferred that the public not know.

It had to be said...

Rick, your job is thankless, but your professionalism is appreciated.

Oh, and for the record, I'm a Jesse Helms Republican. But I never thought I would see the nastiness promulgated by this recent batch of wannabees from the so-called Tea Party take over a once proud institution. This may be the first election where I don't vote for any presidential candidate.

Anonymous said...

I grew up reading the NY Times on Sundays, but that doesn't make me a New Yorker.