Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center hosted the media logistics walkthrough for the 2016 Democratic National Convention Committee Dec. 3, 2015. The Democratic national convention is a four-day committee-run event at which the Democratic party announces its candidate nominees for president and vice president of the United States in the coming election.
The event began at 10 a.m. with a continental breakfast. Approximately 500 representatives of dozens of news organizations from across the country filled the site of the Convention’s lobby. Mayor Michael Nutter welcomed the group before handing the presentation over to Leah Daughtry, the CEO of the 2016 Democratic National Convention who discussed the media’s role in the event.
“We are most excited to be hosting the Democratic National Convention of 2016,” Nutter began. “[It’s the] first time we’ve had the democrats back in Philadelphia since 1948; we felt we were kind of overdue,” he continued, noting that Philadelphia has also hosted national events such as the Republican convention in 2000 and the Papal visit in September 2015.
“We could not be more excited to have you all here to talk about this upcoming convention, to talk about the history of Philadelphia, and of course, we plan to make history again right here in our great city,” Nutter concluded, presenting the podium to Daughtry.
“We could not have a better convention planning partner than Michael Nutter,” Daughtry began, mentioning that she had worked on six prior conventions, one as CEO in 2008, making her the first person ever to hold the position of CEO of the DNCC twice.
“Welcome to the Wells Fargo Center, which will serve as our home and our convention hall next July. What better place could there be for us to hold our convention than here in the birthplace of democracy?” Daughtry continued.
“Conventions play an important role in our American democracy. They are an opportunity for local parties to share their knowledge and their vision for the future… And they are an important reminder of the valuable role that we the people play in determining our collective destiny,” she finished, before introducing the rest of the DNCC staff in attendance and giving the microphone to Karen Burchard, director of media logistics.
Burchard said that a temporary structure will be erected at an area to be announced outside the arena as a workspace for media teams covering the convention, with communication wires running to the arena, but that press credentials would be required for everyone in both the workspace and the arena.
She also said that exhibits and forums available to the public will be held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, along with daily press briefings, and that shuttles will be available between the PCC and the convention center.
“We are not the primary source of hotel rooms for the media,” Burchard warned, adding that while reporters can apply for free lodging, the DNCC cannot supply enough hotel rooms to house every media representative attending the convention and attendees should arrange their own lodging if possible.
In response to concerns regarding press accessibility, Nutter said that the Convention would have very few of the logistical problems posed by the recent Papal visit. For reference, Daughtry clarified that attendance of the convention will be “less than an average Eagles game,” and that Philadelphia is equipped to handle large groups of people.
When asked about plans in case of protests, Daughtry said that standard practice is to always plan for protests. She also mentioned that the convention will have “free speech zones,” where citizens will be allowed to express otherwise restricted opinions, in locations to be announced. However, she declined to offer a future date at which more logistical information will be available.