This week I got the chance to go to the Democratic National Convention for Cisco’s newsroom website, The Network. As Blair Christie announced last week in her blog The 2012 U.S. National Conventions: Compelling, Collaborative… Connected – Cisco is the official networking provider to both the RNC and DNC conventions.
Covering big events like this is something our team loves to do, many of us have a journalism background but now we don’t necessarily look for stories about the event – now we look for stories about the technology that enables the event. Not just any technology but, of course, the networking technology that makes this national event possible. While my photographer and I walked around and got interviews with engineers, the CIO and the programming director for Cisco and the DNC – we watched as journalists and social media influencers walked the floor grabbing images and quotes from people and quickly turning everything around on their twitter accounts and sending the information back to get it on their websites. I have to admit we did get caught up with the rest of the media waiting for the first lady to come out on stage to greet everyone before the event even started, but come on – who wouldn’t wait for that image.
It was one that was on every network and every publication within minutes and also the next morning. I did take other pictures and turn them around for Cisco’s twitter page and my own but what sets us apart from the rest is we aren’t trying to break news and compete with professional journalists – but we are breaking ground. We are trendsetters in an area not many are part of. It’s called Brand Journalism and it’s something that Cisco is doing well. The images I took were of Cisco phones that were placed in the control room where the event would come to life. I took pictures of switches that were powering the network that would allow thousands to connect with others outside the arena. Pictures of people sitting at the NOC (Network Operations Center) monitoring screens that showed charts and the flow of data coming through the large arena and of course pictures of everyone using their devices to get messages back to their own audience. To be sure, the RNC and DNC content was Cisco-specific, but most of our content is not. We employ seasoned journalists to write great stories about the technologies we care about (data center, video, collaboration, security, etc.) The overwhelming majority of these stories don’t mention Cisco. What do we get out of it, you may ask? Our great journalists are telling stories about the impact technology has on people’s lives – these are stories we feel aren’t told enough, so we’re telling them.
When I walked away from the arena that night – many reporters were still there waiting to do live shots – using the video of the first lady that we shot as well, but what they didn’t know was the reason they were able to get their story back to their home base is because Cisco made it possible. All devices used during the convention were powered by the network and the amount of bandwith required to make an event like this possible has never been more important. Social media has brought on a new era of reporting, and connectivity is necessary any place at any time – those are the stories you will see coming up on The Network in a few days.