DNC Blog: Behind the Scenes from Philadelphia

Updates from the Democratic National Convention. In other words, what happens when thousands of sleep deprived journalists spend a week together.

Friday, July 29th - 1:29 a.m. - Last night was the first time I stayed on the floor for one of the prime time speeches, and now I know why. It's tough. Like don't move for four hours tough. The media doesn't have chairs on the floor so we had to stand the entire time (or kneel at the Republican Convention). At one point, I put my foot on a nearby ledge and was told to put it down. But it's an experience I'll never forgot and wouldn't change. Because even though I couldn't see the stage, I had the best view of the balloon drop. And who doesn't love a good balloon drop. 


Thursday, July 28th - 3:51 p.m. - And it's raining again.. Run delegates, run!


Thursday, July 28th - 1:28 p.m. - A lot of changes have been made to the stage in preparation for Hillary's big speech tonight. Part of the stage was removed to make room for VIP's and they're testing pyrotechnics. Full story here. 

Here's what it looked like last night as we were leaving: 

Thursday, July 28th - 10:34 a.m. - It's the last  day of the convention which means there's cake!

Thursday, July 28th - 1:22 a.m. - The signs you see everyone holding during the speeches are big souvenirs here. Most people leave with them, but some are left behind... like these two signs. If found them last night on the floor where the California delegation sits. California has been the most disruptive group during this convention, and continued to rebel last night. Maybe it's because that guy keeps tearing up signs.

Wednesday, July 27th - 11:22 p.m. - Annnnd the Democrats are gonna party tonight.  


Wednesday, July 27th - 7:49 p.m. - Apparently even the secret service agents need a break.

Wednesday, July 27th - 6:12 p.m. - What a difference a few hours makes. The funny hats and political pins are gone and most people are wearing dresses and suits to see President Obama speak tonight.  

Wednesday, July 27th - 3:12 p.m. - The magic of TV. I was watching Fox News at my work desk this afternoon and then I switched to Fox Business News. When I realized the anchors were in our work tent, I looked up and realized they were on the same set, just a few feet apart. 

Wednesday, July 27th - 11:51 a.m. - My cousin messaged me this morning to ask if half of Bernie's supporters really left after roll call yesterday. Yes, half left, but likely to take a bathroom break or to get a snack. If you saw Bill Clinton's speech last night, you know the arena was full and all the Bernie supporters were back. 

Wednesday, July 27th - 2:06 a.m. - We just had a very interesting conversation with our Uber driver about wizz. I'm not even sure if I'm spelling that right, but for lunch today we were served hot meat with wizz. For west coasters that means a Philly cheese steak (or a version of it) with velveeta. Our driver said you call it wizz and you say wizz wit. I'm so confused.   

Wednesday, July 27th - 1:25 a.m - Uber has a big operation at the DNC. When we get done at 1 a.m. there are lines of Uber drivers waiting to pick us up. It's actually a little eerie, like a giant car show full of Nissan Sentras and Toyota Corollas. Also there's an Uber "lounge" that plays a lot of house music, and at 1 a.m. it smells a lot like a frat party.

Tuesday, July 26th - 11:09 p.m - I think last night might have been the first time I've seen a former or sitting president with my own eyes. I usually see them through the lens of one of my photographers in video being fed back to the newsroom. By the way, I did go on the floor last night for Bill Clinton's speech, but couldn't see him and left after a few minutes - Because standing on the floor of the DNC during a Bill Clinton speech is like being stuck on a packed elevator with no air conditioning. 

Tuesday, July 26th - 6:54 p.m - So Bernie Sanders supporters just took over a media tent, but unfortunately it wasn't mine. When you're in the news, you want to be in the center of the action. And I'll admit, I was a little jealous when I saw the Sanders folks taking over a tent that housed some smaller media agencies. Click here for the full story.

Tuesday, July 26th - 5:12 p.m - I just finished a story on the gender neutral bathrooms inside the DNC - Everything was going great until I walked in my stall and realized I had to put the seat down.  

Click here for the full story

Tuesday, July 26th - 2:02 p.m - When all you want to do is grab a cup of coffee and Geraldo is in your way. 

Tuesday, July 26th - 12:11 p.m - Day two and one thing is clear - We're not in Cleveland anymore. I knew the conventions would be different but I didn't expect the venues to have such an impact. In Cleveland, the Quicken Loans Arena was right downtown so there were restaurants, shops and vendors right outside the security gates. The DNC is being held at a massive sports complex, and at the end of the day it really feels like you're walking through the aftermath of a giant tailgate party.

As we were leaving last night, I couldn't believe the amount of trash overflowing in the bins. Or just laying on the ground. Even when we arrived today, there were people still cleaning up trash from the night before. Is it because everyone has to eat on site? Or maybe there weren't enough trash cans. Or maybe Cleveland was working harder to protect its image. Either way, it's a difference that I'm sure is not coming across on television. 

Monday, July 25th - 11:11 p.m - Bernie Sanders is on stage right now, but some people are leaving like it's the 9th inning of a baseball game. I heard one woman say, "Quick, let's grab a shuttle before the crowds". I guess it's all about saying you were there, but still in bed before midnight.  

Monday, July 25th - 8:50 p.m - Annnnnd I'm officially freezing! Fox has giant AC units pumping into our work room to keep everyone cool. It's been fantastic - Especially after running around all afternoon - But  now that I've been sitting here for about an hour, I'm a popsicle.   


Monday, July 25th - 7:47 p.m - Anyone need an umbrella?


Monday, July 25th - 7:05 p.m - UPDATE: Police have changed how the delegates get off the subway, so they no longer have to walk right next to the protesters. But media can't get to them either. I was kept a few blocks away and was told to "keep moving" by police. Also, it's starting to rain. 

Monday, July 25th - 5:59 p.m - There's about a thousand protesters outside the convention center right now, and most of them have Bernie Sanders signs. Delegates who are using the subway system to get to the convention site have to walk by the protesters, but frankly some of the delegates don't mind. I've seen several people cheer on Bernie, and when the do the crowd goes wild.  


Monday, July 25th - 4:58 p.m - In case you were too embarrassed to ask, the anti-TPP signs you're seeing at the convention refer to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. A lot of Bernie supporters are against it and they're not shy about telling everyone. 


Monday, July 25th - 2:48 p.m - As I did my first walkthrough inside the convention center, Al Franken was doing a sound check.


He'll be speaking later tonight, along with Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders. I also ran into Gabrielle Giffords back stage and spotted several black SUV's dropping off an unnamed VIP.  And the convention hasn't even started yet. 

Monday, July 25th - 1:38 p.m - We just arrived on site and I'm guessing our Uber driver is going to take the rest of the week off. As you'd expect, everything is blocked off and it's nearly impossible to get in. 

Sunday, July 24th - 10:18 p.m - It's time for the Democratic National Convention and let's hope Philadelphia is ready! First off, let me show you where the convention is being held: 


Yep, away from the cool stuff. The convention is at the Wells Fargo Arena - Home to the Flyers and 76ers. That's hockey and basketball, for those of you who don't follow sports in Pennsylvania. Across the street is the Lincoln Financial Field where the Eagles play (football), and around the corner is the Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Phillies (baseball). 

Now, I guess if you're a sports fan the DNC is being held right in the middle of the cool stuff. But to me, right now, it's just a convention in the middle of a giant parking lot full of media tents and cable lines. 

To me the cool stuff in Philadelphia is the history in downtown - The Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin's House, and the building where the Declaration of Independence was conceived. 

I'm sure tomorrow when Bernie Sanders takes the stage I'll feel different. Or when Bill Clinton Speaks on Tuesday I'll come around. Maybe when Barack Obama addresses the crowd on Wednesday I'll have a change of heart. And maybe, just for a moment, the coolest stuff in Philadelphia will actually be a few miles south.   

  • GOP COVERAGE: RNC Blog: Behind the Scenes from Cleveland

About the author: Amber Eikel is currently the Assistant News Director at KTVU, the Fox affiliate in San Francisco. She has worked in Seattle, Milwaukee and Las Vegas. You can follow her on FacebookTwitter and on the KTVU Snapchat account.