Up to 1,000 bloggers and new-media enthusiasts expected to move into the historic Packard Center next week for the DNC will have plenty to cover at their fingertips.
Organized by the grassroots organization called The PPL, the initiative will offer workspace, connectivity, speakers and other services in the five-story, 1928 auto showroom renovated as a center for entrepreneurial startups at 222 S. Church St.
Already, 300 people have signed up for credentials to the hub, and PPL co-organizer Justin Ruckman expects that number to at least double in the days leading up to the convention. For $99, bloggers get access to professional-grade wireless Internet, recharging stations, workspaces and access to speakers including Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, who will speak on female entrepreneurs on Sept. 6.
Two major workspaces are available in the building – one with a stage for panels and another with TV monitors focused on the convention. Studio space is available for those doing video projects.
“One great thing is that although we’re only a few blocks from the arena and the stadium, we’re always outside the edge of the security zone, so access isn’t a problem,” said Bruce Clark, a former political consultant who is executive director of the initiative.
Among the topics panels will discuss in the stage room are youth and civic engagement, the South in presidential politics, health care reform, innovations in gaming and the future of energy. “We’re driving the conversation forward rather than doing the salacious debate in the media these days,” Clark said.
Not everything is serious: Comedian Tone X, known locally for his role WPEG-FM (“Power 98” 97.9), will do stand-up comedy, there’s a fashion show about using recycled products to create wardrobes and a yoga session.
“We want to make sure everyone has a good time and doesn’t go crazy,” said Jill Bjers, who is coordinating volunteers and has the official title “director of human happiness.”
Organizers have been working on the idea of a blogger hub since February 2011 when Charlotte was announced as the host city of the DNC.
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