I-Day 2009: All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

UPDATE: I changed my schedule and bumped up all the dates as a result.

This coming Tuesday is Inauguration Day, as you well know by now.  But what you probably didn’t know is that I’ll be watching the Inauguration—and not on TV.

On Tuesday morning, I’ll wake up at 5:00 4:00 AM and leave home at 5:30 4:30, headed for the metro.  When I get off the metro at my destination, hopefully around 6:15 5:15 or 6:20 5:20, I’ll walk the 15 minute route to Pennsylvania Avenue.  I should make it to 555 Pennsylvania by 6:45 5:30 AM.  My destination?  Washington’s museum of news, the Newseum.

Just this morning I picked up my Newseum Press Pass membership card, which enables me to access the Newseum on Inauguration Day, assuming that I get there early enough.  As the staff there was keen to reiterate, I am not guaranteed entry by any means.  But as I hope to arrive at the Newseum by 6:45 5:30, I am confident that I will be toward the front of the Press Pass line.  I was warned that a tremendous number of people would be buying the Passes specifically (and often exclusively) for this event.  As I understand it, the earliest onlookers at the Edgewood, MD Obama Express slow-down arrived at 5:30 AM.  I expect that arriving at 6:45 5:30 will put me somewhere among the first 200-300 people in line.  As the building capacity is in the thousands (or so I’ve been told by Newseum staff), this should allow me to get a prime spot before the museum fills up.  I will have to move swiftly, because I want to find a spot near the museum’s giant screen, and yet also near the windows, to see the parade route.

The only downer here is that cell service is expected to go out early in the day, as millions of people Tweet, call, text, and stream from all over the Capitol.  This means there will be few live updates from me via Twitter.  I will Tweet what I think is important for as long as I can.  I’m bringing my camera to the Newseum, with which I’ll capture images of the historic day.

Besides the Newseum’s front-row seat to the parade festivities, another great reason to be at the museum is for the first-hand look at the news media’s I-Day coverage.  CNN, ABC, NBC, and many other media organizations will be broadcasting from the Newseum in various locations.  The one group I truly wanted to get a close-up look at is CNN, but they’re on the roof of the building, where only CNN crews and the Secret Service are permitted to be.  Still, I imagine there will be floor crews from most news organizations conducting interviews around the Newseum.  I will be recording all nineteen hours of CNN’s I-Day coverage (from 5 AM to midnight) and putting it in the video archives I have started keeping from historic events.  This recording will also be good to have from a narcissistic angle.  There is a small chance I’ll be on TV that day – if I can push through the crowds to where CNN is interviewing people – and I want to capture that moment. (I would be so mad if I was on NBC, CBS, etc. instead and didn’t have that footage.)

Be sure to watch TV or – if you’ll be in D.C. – attend the celebration.  Whatever your political party, it’s clear that history was made last November, and that it will be made again this Tuesday.