Communication Studies, National Conventions 2012

In fall 2012, SMU students are attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as part of a political communication studies program in Meadows School of the Arts. They are attending with Professor Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, and Dan Schill, assistant professor of communication studies, who are conducting “Dial Test” research for CNN.

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Security at the convention

An update from Amie at the Democratic National Convention:

Working at the Democratic National Convention that includes the President, Vice President, First Lady and countless Congressmen and women has given me many jaw-dropping experiences, especially with security.

Our credentials

On our first day, the security perimeter was already in existence, and the Secret Service conducted a security sweep of the arena that lasted over twelve hours and forced the relocation of many pre-Convention operations. Snipers have been spotted, motorcades are frequent, and it is the norm to see Secret Service agents with their distinct lapel pins on their left suit collar. Our credentials, which include passes on our lanyards to grant us access to multiple areas throughout the security perimeter, are the necessary keys to the workspaces filled with journalists, the suites with political VIPs, and the convention floor with delegates.

However, the most startling and surreal experience I have witnessed thus far is President Obama’s motorcade. Our work area is near the motorcade entrance at the arena. Obama’s motorcade could be heard several streets away, included 15-20 automobiles and Secret Service agents with firearms drawn. Witnessing such heavy security certainly makes any concerns over safety diminish. The Secret Service has fascinated me throughout this convention and made me an avid supporter of their constant dedication to the President, his cabinet, and the American public at large.

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