KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK
An Inside Look at the Republican Convention
Imagine 50,000 Republican supporters, 15,000 journalists, more than 4,000 delegates, roughly 4,000 law enforcement officials, and four days. That was the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. On Twitter, the event was called, simply, #RNCinCLE.
The city of Cleveland was packed the week of July 18. People listened to speeches, visited the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, got their photos taken in a miniature Oval Office at the Facebook booth, and browsed the campaign memorabilia being sold along the streets downtown.
On Thursday, the last night of the convention, it was time for the highly-anticipated speech by Donald Trump. After a bruising primary season, the New York City businessman, who won more delegates than any other Republican candidate, would formally accept his party’s nomination for president.
Before the speech, I caught up with commentator and civil rights activist Roland Martin of TV One and CNN. Martin said that he was looking forward to seeing if Trump would "offer specifics" on such issues such as social justice, the criminal justice system, and the economy.
On a lighter note, Texas delegate Bob Leonard said that he was looking forward to "Ivanka and the introduction of her dad and, of course, the balloon drop.”
For me as a Kid Reporter, the entire convention was exciting. How many kids can say that they have covered one of the most important political events in one of the craziest election seasons this country has ever witnessed?
But my all-time favorite part? The people. Meeting Carl Bernstein, who is one of the most famous reporters in U.S. history, Kelly O'Donnell, an award-winning reporter for NBC News, Anderson Cooper, a CNN anchor, and many other great journalists was pretty amazing, especially since I would like to pursue journalism as a career.
My favorite piece of advice came from radio host and TV commentator Michael Smerconish. When I asked for tips for an up-and-coming political reporter, he said, "You're doing the first part of my advice: Get there!" Not only did that make me laugh, his words helped my confidence level throughout the event. I had already won half the battle. I was there!
One major lesson I learned through this experience is that sometimes you strike out. It's not often that people say no to an interview or a question. But when they do, it's kind of like an alarm clock early in the morning. You've got to rub your eyes and get out of bed. You've got work to do. After conservative commentator Ann Coulter refused to talk to me, I got right back into the swing of things and went on to get several great interviews.
On July 25, the Democrats will open their convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and formally nominate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as their candidate. Then the real contest will begin. Trump and Clinton will visits cities and towns across the country to win over voters before the November 8 presidential election. Who knows, they may come to a city near you!