Convention Reflection

I admittedly did not pay that much attention to the speeches and other hoopla at the Democratic National Convention this week, save for Obama’s speech last night, which I have on the DVR and need to review in its’ entirety later. From what I did hear, he did a very good job. Leslie, who doesn’t watch a great deal of TV news, did watch some of the speech and was impressed as well.

I like to focus on what goes on behind the scenes; how the infrastructure of a metropolitan area handles an event such as this, which while not quite a disaster response is still daunting in the human challenges it presents to those with critical positions of responsibility to the community at large.

I’ve attended many trade conventions in the past, and participated on the organizing committee of one national trade convention 14 years ago. When thinking back about these gatherings, for some reason I tend to start thinking of a lot of “P” words, such as:

Pluralistic Presentations
Portentous Procurement Planning
Political Posturing
Perceived Privilege
Periodic Prurience
Pervasive Partying

The best convention I ever attended was 20 years ago in Salt Lake City. It was for the advent of a relatively new concept; building a national certification standard in Emergency Medical Dispatch, along with a nationally-recognized organization to oversee training and certification.

There was a three-day certification class that was intensive, followed by a two-day conference.
I hadn’t been that far west since a trip to the west coast when I was 8 years old. The ability to look around on my own, learn new skills, and network with some truly visionary people, served as a springboard for me in my career. I saw that there was so much more going on in communications than what I was seeing in the east. Before I forget, downtown Salt Lake’s best kept secret is here.

7 years later, I moved to Colorado.

Unfortunately, things have changed in many ways that are to me unsavory, which led in part to the recent changes that I’ve made in my career path. While I still feel that there is a need for face-to-face interaction with my peers in the industry, I also feel that some of the luster of the big national trade convention has been lost to the quick and varied availability of information that the electronic information age has brought us.

That’s a large reason why a few things that happened at the DNC this week were more interesting to me than the supposed substance of the actual event:

The Denver Police Online Scanner Feed had as many as 500 or more listeners on each night of the convention, and got some notice from at least one well-read techie blog. The online scanner network, which is operated by volunteers and supported by donations, provides online public safety radio feeds for every metro area in the state, and a good portion of rural counties as well.

The investigative reporting of ABC News during the convention, which focused on what they called “The Money Trail“. One of their reporters may have got a little too close to that trail, and got arrested in what appears to be an overly forceful and trumped-up manner.

The network is coming to his defense, and hopefully we’ll see just as comprehensive a study of these questionable practices when the Republicans get together next week.

Something tells me that the advance team at MSNBC will be getting a different set location in St. Paul than the ground level location near Union Station that they chose for the DNC.

Check out the video:

I’m hopefully going to get a lot of stuff done around the house this Labor Day weekend. I’m going to try to stay away from the TV as much as possible. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.


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This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Media, Politics, Public Safety, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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