Updated: This link is actually a better video than the one I embedded, and I got sick of the video starting automatically every time I tried to view the blog. So enjoy the link.
Last night, I helped cover the Obama speech in Eugene. Even though I had applied for press credentials, I spent 7 hours waiting in line, because I hadn't received any confirmation that I would have a press pass. It was a fairly nice day, so I grabbed a book and my iPod and headed down around 11 in the morning. I had a great time chatting with the people who were in line with me. There were some interesting characters there.
While I was in line, I did some interviews — the first person there got there at 5 a.m., knowing the doors wouldn't open until 6 or 7 — for my coworker, Allie, to use in a preview story about the speech. Allie also wrote the main story about the speech, and then this morning I interviewed students to get reaction to the speech. So we now have a double byline. Whether I support Obama or not, covering the event was one of the most exciting things I've done as a journalist. I've covered events where I had press passes before, but this was the first time that I've ever had to wear one for the entire time and flash it to use a special entrance. The rush of it all definitely confirmed that this is what I want to do.
The security was really tight. Press didn't have to go through metal detectors like the rest of the audience, but we had to open all our bags and turn on all our electronic devices for the security guards and then be "wanded" every time we went in and out. I got used to going through security when I lived in D.C., but this was intense. While we waited in line, dozens of secret service agents walked up and down the street. At one point, several walked past carrying bags from the Duck Store and I really wondered what they bought.
This is the first time in quite a while that a viable presidential candidate has been to Eugene. John Edwards came when he was running for VP, and John Kerry was in Springfield for a very small, invite-only town-hall style talk, but this rally was one of the most important political events in Eugene in a long time. It's also exciting because for the first time that I can remember, Oregon's Democratic primary will matter.
So, without further ado, here's the Emerald coverage of the speech .