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Takeaways From The CES Daily Production Team

Unlike most of my colleagues, I spend the majority of International CES in a small meeting room way, way, waaaaayyyyy deep in the South Hall. We like to joke that the S stands for Siberia.

So while TWICE’s editors and photographers are pounding the pavement, er, carpet for five brutal days, I’m mostly holed up in a gray-walled room, helping put together the Official CES Daily.

I do occasionally emerge to meet with companies, and I always cover Monster’s press conference on Press Day, but production duty is my main hat during the show. As such, here are my takeaways from this year’s CES.

Never seeing the sun in Las Vegas sucks.

TWICE is based in New York, and so we’re used to the bitter gray cold of January. Whenever I tell people I’m going to CES, after I scowl down their “Oh, you’re so lucky!” reaction, they typically counter with, “Well, at least it will be warm, right?”

And, yes, while there’s no snow on the ground, and it’s only 32 degrees instead of 12 degrees, it’s hardly brag worthy when you’re spending the majority of the sunlight in a gray prefab room.    

(If I’m being fair, we did miss most of the Polar Vortex insanity that plagued the New York region that week, and watching the sun rise over the mountains while on the monorail isn’t a bad way to start the day.)

Walking the show floor when there is no one on it is absolutely serene.

I get my first glimpse at the show floor a day before Press Day, when texting while walking is a strict no-go lest you get flattened by a cherry picker or a forklift.

But once the show opens, and most of the trucks are gone in the morning, plodding down that double-yellow-lined carpet with no one on it is a bit like being allowed into Disney World an hour before it opens.

(It is, at times, also a bit creepy.)

A Monster press conference without Noel Lee is missing something.

Monster’s annual CES press conferences are typically filled with a barrage of new products presented in a gunfire manner, a handful of oddly-connected celebrities, and clapping — lots of clapping — all emceed by the company’s founder Noel Lee. Lee was unable to attend this year because of recent surgery, and while the other Monster execs did their best to fill in, there was definitely a level of energy that was lacking. 

(Of course, the company more than made up for any possible missing headlines by filing a lawsuit against Beats in the thick of the show.)

Producing the Daily is a model example of technology’s evolution.

When I first joined TWICE in 2004, our editors and reporters had two choices for filing stories: They could rush back to our workroom and bang it out on one of the desktop computers in the room, or they could haggle for a spot in one of the designated press rooms. Of course, now they can file anywhere on anything, and it’s not uncommon to receive story clarifications via text message.

When I first started, we used to burn our image libraries to CDs so we could bring them with us; we later switched to portable hard drives, and now we don’t bring anything because we can easily access our New York servers via VPN.

When I first started, John Laposky, then managing editor, would have to meet with someone from Creel, our printer, to give them page printouts of the next day’s live pages so they could ensure they had the correct files. Later, this switched to John dropping a flash drive with the files in the car window of a Creel employee who was circling the LVCC — in what always looked like a covert drug drop. (And, as he reads this, John is likely mocking my nostalgia and remembering the days, prior to me joining, when he had to travel to Creel after a day of building pages to check the bluelines.) 

Bumps in the road aside, producing the Daily is generally a wireless, seamless operation. And while the show continues to grow and our jobs get harder covering it, the technology that comes forth each year makes it even easier to build it.