The brief debrief about covering a political convention


The convention crew. This was the staff that covered the 2014 Texas Republican Convention. Missing; Richard Hoang.

What a week!

Eight students covered the Texas Republican Convention last week in Fort Worth. They did an amazing job!

So, the group who covered the convention met recently to debrief about the event. Here are their impressions of their coverage.  As a group, and as consumers of that coverage, we’ll talk about it what we thought at the staff meeting this week.

Here’s what the group thought they did well.

  • Using GroupMe. It was easy to keep track of everyone and to cover the event with everyone on GroupMe.
  • “We worked as a team.”  We went into the convention as a team, covered the convention as a team, took equipment back and forth as a team. It helped when we had to cover the protests after the convention.
  • The diversity of Tweeting. Lots of different types of tweets
  • “Every article has art.”  Even though it wasn’t planned, every article had an art element, whether it was photo from Twitter or something a photographer took.
  • The structure of the process worked well. The flow of content from reporter, to the editor on the ground, to the packager flowed.
  • Awesome Vine videos. The elephant one in particular was a crowd favorite.

Here’s what they thought they could have done better.

  • Getting photos with the stories (on the backend): It was difficult to upload pictures on site. (Wi-fi issues)
  • We may need a second packager: Sometimes it got hectic on the packaging side and a second packager could have been helpful.
  • Some pre-reporting/pre-packing needs to happen before the convention: It would have been helpful to write the first/opening story before the convention started. Also some information about the topics could have been pulled to create graphics or even a video of a poli-sci professor talking about what we could expect could have been helpful.
  • Photographers need to also be assigned to stories/events: Oops! We forgot to assign specific photographers to specific assignments.
  • To tweet or not to tweet: It would help to set a certain number of tweets per day before we go.
  • Completely staff all three days of the conference: We missed a big story on the last day because the final day wasn’t staffed.
  • There wasn’t a larger variety of multimedia/graphic with stories:  We should have included one solid video. (See pre-planning.)
  • There’s no more space: Doing this took a lot of space on the phone so don’t forget to clear out some space before going.
  • Staying connected: Must get the GroupMe app on the iPads. Also, get there early to check out the Wi-Fi situation.


This entry was posted in Training by Icess Fernandez Rojas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Icess Fernandez Rojas

Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope,, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.

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