If you've watched TV, surfed the Web, or picked up a newspaper in the last few days, you'll know that the Democratic National Convention is almost upon us.
As I type, thousands of delegates and journalists, along with representatives from unions, corporations, and special interest groups, are descending on Denver, Colorado. Many are already here. I say here because I'm fortunate enough to be in the "Mile-High City" myself, along with nine other reporters pooled from various ethnic and community newspapers in the New York area. It's an eclectic bunch. There's a reporter from the Haitian Times, another from the Sing Tao Daily, and another from the Indian Express, and so on. The trip is being sponsored by the New York Community Media Alliance (formerly known as the IPA). That's us below.
Normally, small newspapers don't have the resources to send reporters halfway across the country. The idea, then, is for us to cover a nationally significance event, and bring details home to our readers - many of whom don't read The Times, or Daily News, or New York Post. Take Nowy Dziennik (aka the Polish Daily News), for example. Their readers struggle with English, says reporter Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska (who is also with us), meaning the Polish-language paper plays a vital role in keeping people informed and connecting them to the wider world.
I plan to write about the convention for both the Norwood News and the Mount Hope Monitor. Over the next few days, however, I'm going to be providing more immediate commentary here on the West Bronx Blog. I'll be attending - and writing about - speeches and panel discussions whose content might appeal to Bronx residents (immigration reform, for example). And I intend to interview various Bronx politicians to get their thoughts on the convention and beyond (many are delegates - see here for CNN's user-friendly "delegate explainer").
I'll be posting twice a day so please check back for updates. If you have any questions, or if you'd like me to find out about something in particular, drop me an e-mail at mounthopenews[@]gmail.com. And feel free to attach comments to these posts.
Just to set the scene, Denver, if you haven't been, is hot and dry, and barren and flat, except for a small but lofty down-town area. In the distance lies the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, which I tried to photograph through this morning's haze as we left the airport (see below).
Officially, the convention starts on Monday, and ends late Thursday night when Barack Obama (pictured above campaigning in New Hampshire) accepts the party's nomination in front of 75,000 supporters. But the protests have already begun. Earier today, several hundred anti-war protesters marched through the city.
Tonight we're off to the New York State Democratic reception, where Governor David Paterson will be speaking. Details tomorrow.
Oh, and here's one more photo. Rev. Al Sharpton happened to be on the same flight as us. Here he leaves the comforts of first-class to speak with reporters.