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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Newbie: Well-Laid Plans and the Weather

Tracie Mauriello by Tracie Mauriello 0 comments

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Tracie Mauriello, in Tampa covering her first political convention, is tossing out her well-laid plans and shopping for rain boots.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Instead of covering the first night of the Republican National Convention on Monday, I and 15,000 other journalists will be doing what most reporters hate most: covering the weather.

As you know by now, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus delayed the start of the convention until Tuesday to keep delegates safe from Tropical Storm Isaac, which also is causing flight delays and other havoc.

So much for my careful planning. So much for the ample supply of sunscreen I packed. So much for my three-ring binder, complete with phone numbers and driving directions. Many of the events I planned to cover will likely be canceled and the rest of the schedule will change substantially as organizers compress a four-day convention into three. .
This was my Saturday in brief:
I spent the morning framing a Sunday story about Ron Paul and reviewing the photos and video I shot yesterday.
My friend Karoun Demirjian of the Las Vegas Sun arrived in the afternoon. Conveniently, the Nevada delegation is staying in the same hotel as the Pennsylvania delegation, so we had lunch together and shared a cab to the P.A.U.L. Fest to hear speakers including Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson.
The crowd was much bigger than Friday and I was able to get a few more interviews to round out my reporting.
Bonus: I ran into a Ron Paul supporter from Charlotte who provided some guidance for navigating her city when I’m there for the Democratic National Convention.

My Post-Gazette colleague Jim O’Toole picked us up and took Karoun and me back to the hotel, where we settled in to write our stories.
Before long, word came about the cancellation of Monday’s convention events. I made a couple of calls to find out how that would affect the Pennsylvania delegation, while Jim got on a conference call with RNC officials and added the information to the mainbar he was already writing for today’s paper.

I finished my Ron Paul story and transmitted a few photos back to Pittsburgh.

P-G ace photographer Steve Mellon arrived around 9 p.m. and I remembered I’d only had one meal all day, so we headed to Charley’s, a steakhouse next to the hotel. We met up with three other Pennsylvania reporters I knew. They all work for different newspapers but had an enviable camaraderie, having traveled together on the campaign trail for many years.
Back at the hotel, Steve and I set up shop in the hotel lobby to edit the video from Friday and Saturday. It took two hours, but it was time well spent. When you’re a solo act in Washington, D.C. there aren’t many opportunities to work closely with colleagues on a shared project. In the end, Steve refused to take credit for his work, so the tag line on the video lists only one name: mine.
I’ve learned that there are no byline hogs at the P-G, only people who want to work together to serve our readers. It’s that kind of selfless teamwork that makes me really glad to work at the Post-Gazette.
As I write this, it’s 2 a.m. and I need to get some sleep. The Post-Gazette crew – along with our friends from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Philadelphia Inquirer – are meeting up early Sunday to share a ride downtown to pick up our convention credentials.

After that, we’ve got a full day ahead and rain boots to buy.
For those keeping score: Blog posts: 5
Stories: 1
Videos: 1
Coffees: 8
Follow Tracie on Twitter (@pgPoliTweets) for links to her work for the Post-Gazette and Newbie posts for NPF.
Read previous Newbie posts: 

Is she ready?
Blog post: 1, Coffees: 3
Local quotes and Carrot Cake
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