Quicken Loans Arena was abuzz this afternoon as more than 600 members of the local, regional and national media scene gathered for a preview of RNC logistics and a smattering of crab cake sliders.
After Mayor Frank Jackson and County Executive Armond Budish welcomed everyone to this wonderful city and joked about our "two home openers," RNC Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements Steve King and RNC Media Operations Director Julie Shugar got down to brass tacks. The day's briefing covered mostly the finer details of the media biz (e.g. the stage will be 63 inches high, with no curtain background, so plan your camera work accordingly).
The media presence is a major deal, though: Throughout the planning process, city leaders have extolled the need to present our city in the nicest light possible. That demands a certain smoothness of operations to keep the media personalities reporting on the best that Cleveland has to offer. They'll be doing just that from what the RNC team is calling "Media Row" — aka the second floor of the Gateway East Garage (right between the Q and Progressive Field).
The Q&A period this afternoon brought up plenty of questions about the as-yet-unidentified security permitter (indeed, no word on that) and speculation as to how a "brokered convention" might work. RNC officials repeatedly and tersely emphasized that the convention will be a "four-day event" — that is to say, even the amorphous protocol behind a "brokered convention" won't keep the RNC in town any longer than needed. "The balloons will drop Thursday night," King said several times.