DNCC - FACT SHEET: The 2008 Democratic National Convention: A Different Kind of Convention

The 2008 Democratic National Convention will be a first-rate, technologically savvy Convention that will celebrate the strength of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, the diversity we embrace, the values we share and our vision for America. 

In May 2007, we laid down the marker in calling this a “transitional Convention” -- one that is more accessible to the American people and begins to change the way Conventions are organized, funded and implemented.  In keeping with this and the values of the 50-state strategy, this Convention highlights the importance of the West to the future of the Democratic Party. In fact, this is the first Democratic Convention to be held in the Mountain West in 100 years. A sampling of efforts to open this Convention to more Americans than ever before include:

  • First Convention since 1960, when President John F. Kennedy moved his acceptance speech to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, to open its doors to more than 75,000 people from across the country, as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States at INVESCO Field at Mile High. In the first 48 hours after the invitation was issued, more than 80,000 Coloradans requested community credentials for Senator Obama’s speech at INVESCO Field at Mile High on Thursday, August 28, 2008.
  • First Interfaith Gathering to kick off Convention week.  The event will include national and local clergy of different faiths, Party leaders, elected officials and local community leaders, symbolic of the Party’s desire to bring multiple communities together under its “big tent.”  The gathering will also feature readings from diverse religious texts, prayers and musical selections.
  • First Delegate Service Day, chaired by Michelle Obama and Colorado’s First Lady Jeannie Ritter, at sites throughout the Denver area allowing delegates to join together to both contribute to and celebrate the people and organizations effecting positive change and strengthening communities in the city hosting this historic Convention.
  • First Live High-Definition Streaming of Gavel-to-Gavel Convention Proceedings via DemConvention.com providing viewers worldwide with an all-access pass to the Convention.  Our online efforts will be supplemented by more than 120 credentialed blogs, a record for a national political convention, and more than three times the number of blogs at the 2004 Convention.
  • First Complete Spanish Language Simulcast available at DemConvention.com and via broadcast networks making the Convention accessible to the more than 35 million Americans whose primary language is Spanish.  All primetime Convention activities at the Pepsi Center will be simulcast.
  • First Daily Convention Webcast, “Countdown to America’s Future,” previewing the 2008 Democratic National Convention’s evening program each day of Convention week. Hosted by rising political stars and key campaign officials, “Countdown” will be broadcast on DemConvention.com, Comcast’s Video On-Demand (VOD) and via satellite. The series of daily webcasts will feature special appearances by campaign and Convention insiders with each show providing behind the scenes information not available anywhere else.
  • First “Community Open House” and sneak peek of Convention hall for Denver area residents and students – invited to be among the first to tour the Convention hall and get a glimpse of its innovative design before the thousands of Convention delegates and guests arrive in Denver. More than 5,000 free tickets for the event were snapped up in less than 24 hours. 

The 2008 Democratic National Convention: The Most Technologically-Savvy Event of Its Kind

Building on a commitment to bring more people into the Convention experience than ever before, the Democratic National Convention Committee has taken a comprehensive approach to ensure the 2008 Democratic National Convention will be the most technologically-savvy event of its kind. From the stage and podium design to how people around the world view Senator Barack Obama’s historic nomination, some of the most innovative technology available will be front and center.

Anchoring the Convention’s technology offerings is the official Web site, DemConvention.com. In addition to traditional content such as video highlights and full text of Convention speeches, the 2008 Convention Web site will feature an exclusive daily Convention preview program, behind-the-scenes blog posts, pictures and video uploaded by Convention attendees and citizens across the country, an aggregated feed from an unprecedented blogger pool and much more.

  • In a first for a political Convention, the DNCC will offer live, gavel-to-gavel, streaming video coverage in HD at DemConvention.com.  Microsoft’s Silverlight platform will provide viewers with an unprecedented opportunity to individually tailor their Convention experiences by selecting their desired camera angles.
  • A complete, Spanish-language simulcast will also be available on DemConvention.com. More than 300 million people around the globe speak Spanish, including 35 million Americans, and the simulcast will ensure that more people can fully participate in this year’s historic Democratic National Convention and the democratic process.
  • A series of daily webcasts, “Countdown to America’s Future,” will feature exclusive interviews and nightly Convention previews. “Countdown” will air Sunday–Thursday at 2:30 pm MT/4:30 pm ET and on Friday, August 29 at 7:00 am MT/9:00 am ET. “Countdown” will also be available on Comcast’s Video on Demand and via satellite to media newsrooms across the country.
  • “America’s Town Hall” will virtually throw open the doors to the Convention hall by inviting individuals across the country to submit text and video questions at DemConvention.com/townhall.  Elected leaders and national policy experts will respond directly to voters’ questions live from the Convention floor and online throughout the week.
  • Through a partnership with YouTube, Convention-goers will also be able to share their unique perspectives by uploading photos and video at kiosks inside.
  • A record 120 blogs have been credentialed as members of the media for the Convention, connecting communities across the country to the historic event through the eyes and ears of an influential group of online voices. The pool includes blogs covering national, state and local politics, blogs representing a variety of communities and issue-specific blogs.
  • The DNCC’s blog will feature behind-the-scenes blogposts and video and an aggregated feed of highlights from credentialed blogs.
  • The DNCC formed a Technology Advisory Council (TAC), comprised of leading technology companies and city and state officials, to advise Convention planners on their forward-looking technology strategy. Over the past year, the TAC has brought together a wide range of highly-respected industry experts to pool the best practices from the public and private sectors to engage more people than ever before in the Convention experience.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention: Engaging the Community

Since arriving in Denver in July 2007, Convention organizers have made service and active participation in the community a staple of Convention planning.  An earlier than ever head start has paid dividends as the Denver community has welcomed the Convention with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Local businesses are involved in every aspect of planning and are poised to reap the benefits of the estimated $160 million economic impact.

More than 26,000 volunteers from the Denver Metro area and across the country stepped forward to give of their time and energy to make the 2008 Convention a success.  These volunteers comprise a diverse range of people from all walks of life.  Volunteers will serve in a variety of capacities, from drivers to greeters to assistants, serving in our departments of hospitality, administration, finance, production, security, technology, transportation and communications and greatly contributing to the behind-the-scenes execution of the Convention.

DNCC Service Days
Convention leaders and staff have contributed more than 750 hours to a variety of local efforts. “DNCC Service Days” focused on three areas of importance to the Denver-area community: youth, environment and the combined issues of homelessness and hunger.  Among the projects was a “build brigade” to construct a home for a wounded Iraq war veteran. The build brigade is a project of Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit organization committed to building specially-adapted homes across the United States for severely wounded American troops. The house in Golden, Colorado will be home to SSG Travis Strong, his wife Misty and their two children.

Delegate Service Day
In conjunction with Democrats Work, Metro Volunteers and Volunteers of America, the DNCC is coordinating a Delegate Service Day on Wednesday, August 27th. Michelle Obama and Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter will co-chair this effort, which aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of Americans in a renewed commitment to service.

Projects will range from canned food sorting, painting at local schools, serving meals at shelters, reading to children, removing graffiti, landscaping at local schools, tree planting and park maintenance. These projects will allow delegates to both contribute to and celebrate the people and organizations making positive change and strengthening communities in the city hosting the Democratic National Convention.

Convention Conversations
Convention leaders logged more than 3,500 miles across eight cities throughout the Rocky Mountain West to participate in a series of community forums. The series – “Convention Conversations: A Traveling Forum Sponsored by the DNCC” – provided a venue to answer questions and offer information.  Thousands of residents and businesses in Denver, the state of Colorado and states throughout the West took advantage of the opportunity for direct communication with top Convention organizers to share ideas and find out how to get involved.

Write to Lead Youth Essay Contest
The DNCC worked with several local partners on the “Write to Lead” essay contest to provide a unique opportunity for Colorado youth to voice their thoughts on leadership and the future of our country. We knew young people in Colorado have big ideas about what makes a good leader and where our country is headed -- and with the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, there was no better time to give voice to those big ideas.

From a field of more than 1,200 applicants, 54 finalists were selected to serve as ambassadors to state and territorial delegations prior to the Convention via a "Postcards from Colorado" campaign.  

Two Presidential Winners were selected to attend opening night of the Convention, have their essays published in local newspapers and each received a laptop computer to aid with future writing projects.

Community Open House and Youth Program
In an effort to say “thank you” to the Denver community for hosting the Convention, the DNCC scheduled a Community Open House, allowing more than 5,000 area residents to tour the Convention hall before delegates and other elected officials arrive in Denver.  A special youth program provided an opportunity for area students to tour the Convention hall, take photos and participate in an educational program on the historical significance of political conventions and the role they play in our democratic process.