Four years ago I somehow ended up covering Obama’s first inauguration. The paper I was working at back then, The Portland Press Herald, decided to send down a quartet of journalists to cover the scene. That’s remarkable now for a couple of reasons, one, that a mid-sized newspaper could pony up the cash to send four people to cover the inauguration, and, two, that I was added as a kind of utility infielder for digital.
My job was straightforward: Punch out as many updates and stories for the website as possible. Yes, I was “web guy.” Don’t forget this was journalism, circa 2009. And if being “web guy” meant getting to cover a presidential inauguration, then I was happy to be “web guy.” And truthfully, I liked being web guy. Web guy gets to experiment with cool stuff, spend lots of time online, and, in this instance, see presidents start their first day on the job. This was a huge assignment, and given that I wasn’t a political reporter, my chance - quite possibly the only one - to see a US president sworn into office up close.
On the day of, I had one job: Live blog the proceedings from my seat in the press gallery on the lawn of the capitol. Our paper had one official press pass for the ceremony, and my butt was going to be in the seat.
And I failed.