International journalists say they won't do much Chicago coverage

May 19, 2012

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(File/AP)
Journalists start gathering at the NATO summit media center at The McCormick Place on Friday.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said this weekend's NATO summit would be a great chance to show off the city to the world, and earlier this week he put a number on that statement: 2,500 international journalists, he said, were expected to cover the military alliance's meeting.

WBEZ talked to some international journalists who say they'll be doing plenty of sightseeing while in town, but with all the diplomacy going on, they don't have time to do much reporting on the city.

"That exposure highlights this great metropolitan international city and the investments and economic opportunity and job growth that comes with it," Emanuel told reporters.

"All stories will be a Chicago dateline. You'll read about Chicago all the time but there won't be much about the city, its beautiful buildings," said Laurent Thormet, reporter for French wire service AFP.

"No, unfortunately I won't do any feature about, I don't know, Chicago restaurants or nightlife," said Thormet's German colleague, Jan Dorner.

"It's more about the summit, but we'll slip in some nice thing about Chicago into our coverage," said Fengfeng Wang of  Chinese wire service Xinhua.

Commentator Gro Holm of Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation compared NATO in Chicago to her experience of the Olympics in Norway.

"The long lasting effects were not that huge. People tend to forget there are lots of cities around the world, and lots of events around the world," Holm said.

Holm added international journalists could enjoy their time in Chicago enough to come back again, and she says hopefully, for the city's sake, with some friends.

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