Reports from the Republican National ConventionI got a picture with Hulk Hogan!
Let the convention beginAugust 28, 2012
Today marked the first full day of convention proceedings, and thus, a much more complicated schedule of assignments for me at work.
It seemed as if the past two days had just been practice for the real thing, or a test to see if I could handle the pressure of timekeeping in a chaotic newsroom environment.
I was responsible for escorting seven people around the set today — each of them scheduled very closely together — and it was almost more than I and my three fellow runners could handle.
Among my seven guests were Caitlin Huey-Burns, a political reporter for Real Clear Politics; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee; U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who is as good-looking in person as he is on TV; and Gov. Mike Huckabee.Me with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Both Priebus and Schock were very late getting to the set, and trying to rework the schedule to accommodate their late arrival times was tricky. But with teamwork between the runners and producers (as well as too many frantic phone calls), everything turned out fine.
The general topic of discussion for the guests today was the traffic downtown and car sweeps by security personnel, which greatly contributed to late arrivals to the set.
“You’d think by now I wouldn’t be considered a national security threat,” Huckabee told me as I hurried him to the main stage for make-up and a quick run-through of his segment.
The morning was so hectic and had so many close calls that I almost forgot to appreciate how amazing it was to have a normal conversation with people of national significance. Almost.
(And for the record, all of the “famous” people that I have written about in these posts have been surprisingly nice. No shouting, no complaining, no unreasonable demands — just decent people.)
Calm before the stormAugust 27, 2012
There was not a lot of excitement in the Fox newsroom when I arrived there at 4 a.m., but that was like the calm before the storm (literally). Not only has Hurricane Isaac caused the cancellation of the first day of the convention, but it also caused a lot of discomfort for the Fox News runners, who got a thorough soaking today while escorting guests to the set.
I avoided the worst of the rain by preparing information cards for the anchors of Fox & Friends earlier in the morning, but eventually it was my turn to head out into the storm, and I was not spared.
My assigned guests today were Dana Perino, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush; Todd Starnes, a radio personality for the Fox News Radio network; and Joe Trippi, a Democratic campaign consultant. All of them had something to say about the weather, and none of it was positive.
Originally, I was scheduled to escort all five of Gov. Mitt Romney’s sons through the studio, but as I have learned, intern schedules are more like loose guidelines, built to expand or contract based on the circumstances of the day. (I did end up meeting them later, though.)A bird's eye view of the main Fox News set.
Off and runningAugust 26, 2012
I arrived at the convention headquarters for Fox News at 6 a.m. today — four hours before my scheduled start — to practice my routine with fellow morning runners. This means I woke up very early to greet guests at the secure perimeter around the convention venue and escort them to the set.
I am essentially on the front lines of the network’s vast army of punctuality. It is not an especially glamorous position, since I am on my feet for most of the day, but as the first person the guest will see, I have the responsibility of representing the entire network and I get to meet some of the most interesting people in politics.
Me (second from left) and the team of ‘runners’ who escort guests to the Fox News set.
My first guest was U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who was very patient and very informative about the insect population in his state. (I have a thing about bugs.)
I also escorted James Davis, communications director for the 2012 Republican convention, who is also the proud father of two young girls, ages 2 and 8.
I passed Herman Cain and Karl Rove as they made their way to the main set, and I stood in line for lunch next to Bret Baier, a Fox anchor in the primetime news slot.
The best part about my experience, however, is the people behind the scenes who are responsible for my work schedule and my assignment. I did not expect to be treated like a human being by such a big network, let alone as a valuable part of the team.
There have been times that I’ve made mistakes (forgetting to introduce myself when I shook a guest’s hand was one of them), and I’ve been called out on them, but never in a way that made me feel like a failure. Fox News is providing me with a wonderful learning experience!