Thursday, September 4, 2008

Convention Is The New Nightclub

Listen to it here!

By Ankitha Bharadwaj

Minneapolis-Saint Paul___Now before you get your baffled face on, let me explain.

When Youth Radio was preparing its Republican National Convention reporter team, the first question they asked us was...

Youth Radio: "How old are you?"

Ankitha: "What? I'm 18, why do you ask?"

Youth Radio: "That's good, because only journalists 18 and over are allowed into the RNC."

Seems like a lame rule, doesn't it? The obvious reason might be that only people over 18 are allowed to vote, so if there are die hard political junkie journalists who are on the younger end of the spectrum, they're denied the chance to play a vital role in this year's political process.

Much like this convention, many nightclubs across the country require partygoers to be at least 18 to enter. The resemblances don't stop there. If you've ever been to a club, I'm sure you've had interesting experiences with the huge bouncer, who guards the club doors to make sure only the "worthy" are allowed in. Similarly, the Xcel Center in St. Paul was guarded by security officers, metal detectors, and scanners. Moreover, just as you'd need to have your name on a special list, the convention requires credentials for anyone to enter the Xcel Center, and getting those credentials is tricky business if you're under 18.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it a little weird that the RNC didn't allow journalists under 18 when they're trying so hard to appeal to the youth? And moreover, this just gives the Democrats more power, since the DNC happily welcomed underage reporters.

We spoke with folks from YPress, a media organization similar to Youth Radio headquartered in Indianapolis. They were frustrated when the RNC denied them any credentials, forcing YPress to look elsewhere for RNC coverage. And the worst thing is that they've covered both the DNC and the RNC for years now, so it's a little confusing why they weren't credentialed this time around. But the YPress team got some pretty awesome stories; they interviewed Fred Thomson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other cool cats. So take that RNC.

At the very least, Youth Radio producers reported, Youth Radio was in the “Special Press” category (under college media and weekly newspapers) handled by the GOP directly.

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