The Frenzy To Cover China’s Stage-Managed Parliament Session | 3/15/2019 | Staff
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BEIJING (Reuters) – For many journalists, China’s once in a year parliamentary meeting starts with a sharp-elbowed sprint up the stairs.

The 11-day event, which ended on Friday, kicked off with the annual scramble for positions ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s opening speech. Reporters, photographers and camera crews formed queues overnight on one side of Tiananmen Square outside the Great Hall of the People before doors opened at around 7:30 a.m., unleashing a free-for-all for the best spots.

Photographers - TV - Cameramen - Laden - Equipment

About 50 photographers and TV cameramen, many laden with heavy equipment, raced up the stairs at the Great Hall to battle for roughly 10 prime spots to view President Xi Jinping and the rest of his leadership team as they trooped in, and to watch the speeches.

For text correspondents, the sprint was to be among the first at a baize-covered table on the second floor where key documents, including the budget, are handed out at around 8 a.m.

Tom - Daly - Reuters - Correspondent - Task

Tom Daly, a Reuters correspondent whose task was to be among the first to get the reports and hand them to colleagues ready to phone in headlines, made sure he wasn’t carrying anything that might slow his way through the metal detectors, having handed his phone to a colleague further back in the queue.

“You have nothing in your pockets, you don’t have your belt,” said Daly, who like many of the hundreds of reporters in the first wave was wearing athletic shoes and was casually dressed, in contrast to the business-attired delegates arriving at the same time.

Reports - Hand - Journalists - Carpeting - Details

Reports in hand, the journalists sprawled out on the carpeting and phoned in key details to their editors. Using a laptop was inadvisable because there is no wifi in the Great Hall of the People and wireless data coverage is spotty.

Reuters’ Beijing bureau, several blocks east of the Great Hall, published...
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