NATO Summit: Friday Live Coverage from McCormick Place

Raw video: How reporters leave the press hotel and arrive at McCormick
Place, plus a tour of the press center. (Video by Ryann Rumbaugh)

NATO logoEditor's note: Red Line Project reporters AnnCatherine Brady, Laura Funk, Katie Kormann and Ryann Rumbaugh are reporting live from the summit at McCormick Place. Check this page regularly for updates and read the social media coverage of the summit.

By AnnCatherine Brady
The Red Line Project

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2012

Riding on a bus with State Department personnel is not the way I typically start a Friday morning. Yet, as I made my way to McCormick Place, where the 2012 NATO summit will be hosted, I found myself doing just that.

The day started early, around 7 a.m., when I made my way over to the Hyatt Regency hotel; the kick off point for any members of the press.

The waiting area there was surprisingly empty. The other DePaul students I’m working with, Ryann Rumbaugh and Laura Funk, were part of the handful of reporters waiting for the press shuttle.

Security was not in full swing, with only one military member standing guard and checking ID badges. Full Secret Service sweeps do not start until Saturday, according to the State Department employee who accompanied us on the bus ride.

We were picked up at the hotel’s service entrance and then driven through a winding underground area. 

After losing my sense of direction in the tunnels, we finally surfaced again on a private road. It was closed in by buildings on one side and Metra trains on the other, in the shadow of Soldier Field.

There was only one hiccup, a gate on the road was still locked, blocking our path. The problem was solved by security guards and State Department employees radioing each other back and forth. Ten minutes later, we made it to an industrial back entrance.

At first, the press center felt anti-climatic as we weaved our way through a makeshift hallway corded off by black drapes. A couple of press areas had been set up, and a large AP sign hung in the distance.

Press Room Photo by AnnCatherine BradyWhen we rounded the corner though, it was like stepping into a completely different world.

The press center is massive, larger than a football field. The first thing that greets you is a sitting area of low white chairs, covered in blue light. It looks like a refreshment area. Workers on lifts and a cleaning crew were still putting on the final touches; polishing signs in mostly English and French.

Past that, the room just keeps on going. Rows and rows of tables have been set up with outlet plug-ins, and individual press association banners taped to them. In between the rows are massive signs that say Press Centre and on the side are even larger projector screens. Press rooms are beyond the screens, hidden behind enormous black drapes.

As workers on small carts zipped by, I wandered around to get my barring. I don’t know what to expect from this weekend, but being behind the scenes in the press center will be a once in a life-time experience. 

Photo (above) by AnnCatherine Brady



NATO Summit Press Center

The Red Line Project's reporters were among the first to arrive at the McCormick Place press center. They rode over to the summit on a media shuttle from the press headquarters at the Hyatt hotel in downtown Chicago.

Photos of the welcome center and media work room:

Press room photo by Laura Funk

The  1,500-seat media work room opened on Friday morning. (Photo by Laura Funk)

Welcome Center Photo by Laura Funk
Workers put the finishing touches on the NATO summit welcome
center at McCormick Place. (Photo by Laura Funk) 


Media Center Photo by Ryann Rumbaugh

The media center features large projection screens
to updates can be fed to reporters. (Photo by Ryann Rumbaugh)  

Return to Monday's coverage: Final day | Sunday's coverage; day one of summit | Saturday's coverage: Obama G8 breifing |  | NATO summit coverage Preview guide | Home page

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