Inside the massive PR effort driving the NATO summit

NATO press officers are shy, but a Chicago committee muscles in to plug the city of big shoulders to the international media.

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That’s why the Chicago NATO Host Committee is pushing the media to get out and see more than the NATO summit, held at a sprawling convention center where reporters are mostly covering events from the press center by webcast.

“As they’re walking by to talk about Afghanistan or to learn more about NATO, we wanted to let them know they were in a special city,” says David Boul, communications director at the host committee.

The committee, part of the nonprofit World Business Chicago, is encouraging reporters to write about the arts, architecture, the blues scene, and international business. Its partners include the City of Chicago and many local organizations.

Reporting by webcast

Lucky thing the committee is here to make a splash, since to be at the NATO summit is to realize how little of the real action is open to in-person reporting. Pool reporters and photographers rotate into the public meetings. Hundreds of journalists are left watching webcast or live video on giant screens while listening on headsets.

Military officials stroll through the press center, and reporters from European, Chinese, and other news agencies spend the day hunched over their laptops.

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