In a little less than two weeks, the media, politicians and protestors will descend upon Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention.
Given the polarizing presence of Donald Trump, TVSpy wanted to know if Cleveland’s local stations are ready for the protests and violence that seem to follow the Republican presidential candidate.
WKYC GM Micki Byrnes told TVSpy her NBC affiliate has been training its crews for both the Republican and Democratic conventions and that TEGNA stations share best practices all the time.
“We are working closely with local law enforcement, and there have been multiple meetings and briefings,” said Byrnes. “While we feel confident that the necessary security precautions are being taken city-wide, we also will continue to make sure our staff and crew are prepped and prepared.”
Cleveland.com reports the city is anticipating protests during the convention and is extending the hours of the Municipal Court, while local lockups are clearing space for extra beds.
“We would encourage journalists who plan to attend the convention to talk with their employers about getting training they feel would be helpful, and urge newsrooms to consult with law enforcement agencies in Cleveland about their plans and response strategies, so that journalists on the scene will have a sense of what to expect if violence does occur,” Derrick Hinds, communications, marketing and digital media manager for the RTDNA told TVSpy.
If you’re planning on traveling to the convention and have some extra cash, about $1,200, there’s a bootcamp run by Global Journalist Security that’s staffed by former military personnel that teaches journalists how to handle stressful situations like those expected at the convention. The group’s website says it offers “Hostile Environments training,” for reporters who work in sub-Saharan Africa, Syria or Afghanistan.
“For any kind of news story, the safety of our crews is always our first priority,” said Byrnes, who also told TVSpy the Cleveland Cavaliers recent Championship rally and parade was a good warm up for the city to practice dealing with crowds.
“As recently as last week, we had our teams in the middle of 1.3 million hot and sunburned Cavalier fans who crowded into downtown,” said Byrnes. “While obviously a fairly happy group, the event was also quite unexpected and very last minute. It was great practice in terms of flexibility, being situationally aware and having redundancies in place (i.e. two-way radios when cell service was impossible.)”