The press center looks almost like a military command center from a Tom Clancy movie. There are rows of long tables, phones, laptops, headphones, too many wires and a huge projector screen displaying the papal events in real time.
It’s a dangerous place to set down a cup of coffee, CNS bureau chief John Thavis warned me as he was typing up a story on the papal Mass at Nationals Park. He already had spilled over two glasses of water there.
If a reporter is lucky enough to get the credentials to cover an event, he or she gets to experience what it is like to be herded like sheep.
After waiting to wait in a line before waiting to wait on a bus to wait to cover the pope’s address to interreligious leaders at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center April 17, we had to pass through security tent. Think airport security, but with a lot more attention to detail and a bomb-sniffing dog.
But all that tension simply dissipates when the commute across town in the region tied for the second worst traffic in the country is quite smooth when the press bus is led by a police escort.