RNC versus DNC: Battle of two convention cities

When it comes to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and its Republican counterpart in St. Paul, Minn., Denver is decidedly behind when it comes to media relations and protest planning centering, according to The St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Minnesota newspaper has compared convention preparations — a sort of a battle of the cities — with contests ranging from which city has done the best to promote “civic engagement” to which city will have the best celebrity glitterati.

When it comes to media relations and protest plans, Denver definitely trails:


St. Paul

Sure, it’s landed the city in federal court. But St. Paul has granted a route that takes protesters as close as any post-9/11 political convention protest has been. While the protesters aren’t happy about the route and start time, the city also will provide a stage and sound system to let protesters make their views known.


The route in Denver ends in a parking lot, which police claim can accommodate up to 50,000 people. It is within sight and sound of the Pepsi Center … sort of. But it’s nowhere near as close as protesters will get to the Xcel Center in St. Paul.

ADVANTAGE: St. Paul. What remains to be seen is how each city’s police force handles the crowds.


St. Paul

The TV networks are completing coverage plans, and convention staffers have apportioned space for the media. The city is sprucing up, even resurfacing a parking lot across from the Xcel Center expected to be used by media trucks.


Convention officials canceled a spring media "walk through," where media organizations have a chance to set up their operations. The move was widely seen as a sign of disarray and forced airline reservations to be canceled or switched.

ADVANTAGE: St. Paul. At an event largely designed to use the media to send a message, upsetting them is not good strategy.

Although the The St. Paul Pioneer Press concludes that St. Paul holds a 5-3 lead over Denver in the contest, Colorado counterparts can at least take pride in knowing that what Denver lacks in civil liberties protection preparations it makes up for in star power — with celebrities like Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee planning to attend the Democratic convention.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.