As an independent reporter, I'm learning that it's a lot more interesting (and fun) to cover events from the crowd than press row. There's nothing wrong with dedicated media entrances, unobstructed views and access to the candidates. But you lose something by accepting access from the officials you're covering to separate from the readers you're supposedly serving. Anyway, here was the view from the cheap seats at Hillary's visit at the Brat Stop (or as she called it, the Brat Shop):
Here's the line outside of the stop 90 minutes before Hillary is scheduled to speak. Yup, there's no line. It was somewhat concerning because Obama's line in Racine wrapped around the entire block. Then again, Obama's stop featured broken metal detectors that left us standing in brutal cold for over an hour. With Hillary, we walked straight in ... no metal detectors, though, which was weird.
It got crowded fast. So fast we got stuck in the balcony of the Brat Stop even though we were among the early arrivals. Organizers and volunteers seemed lost and couldn't even tell us where Hillary was going to speak. Most people figured she'd be on the stage, but nope, she was off to the side. When we tried to get back downstairs, the campaign kept us upstairs. While we waited, an older woman collapsed. After several calls for 9-1-1, a police officer arrived. The woman was OK, and I think she stayed to watch the speech.
While we waited, a bartender used a pool cue and her shoelaces to redirect a closed circuit camera while standing on a chair stacked on a table. The MacGyver-esque move was successful ...
Here was our clearest view of Sen. Clinton (it really was clear, the photo is just blurry).
Here was our view of where Hillary was speaking.
Hillary! (We handed our camera off for some closer shots).
One more of the former First Lady ...
Cool shot through the chandelier.
People standing on pool tables to catch a glimpse of Hillary. This sums up the event well.
RacinePost's own Pete Selkowe (second photographer from the left) using a press pass at the event. Yeah, we got credentials.
The crowd packed in for autographs and handshakes after Hillary's speech. We couldn't get real close, but we know someone who jumped a railing and got her autograph on a coffee card. Nice work!
This unfocused, dark photo was taken with camera overhead and random clicks. That's Hillary in the middle.