For the World Meeting of Families Pope Francis Visit to the United States, we were asked to design, build and manage media coverage operations. No simple undertaking, given that nearly ten thousand members of the local, national and international press required hour-by-hour access, support and connectivity: from credentialing and security to transportation and guidance. All of this, as we collectively prepared for millions of people to descend on Philadelphia in hopes of catching a glimpse of Pope Francis. So, under the pressure and scrutiny of billions following across the globe, we delivered with grace and precision at each of the 7 event sites — and everything in between.
Media received white-glove service complete with hearty meals, custom lounge areas, private transportation service and a 24/7 helpdesk.
Complete with law enforcement escorts, our 12-bus fleet zipped beloved members of the media around the City of Brotherly Love, enabling those aboard to uphold their covenant to deliver real-time coverage.
Our recipe for optimizing media coverage is simple: maximize opportunity and efficiency while minimizing impediments to progress. Selfishly, this benefits everyone involved. After all, the dirty little secret to enhanced media coverage is keeping the media happy on-site.
For this visit, we created a media filing center in the Philadelphia Convention Center that not only presented a fun workplace with some comic relief — ping-pong tables, local catering, and gear-check services — but also provided a convenient transportation terminal with easy-access to each of the seven Papal event sites.
As you might imagine, the entire city was declared a national security event. Therefore, and in lockstep with the mayor, police, fire, U.S. Secret Service and the VisitPhilly Convention bureau, we helped devise a “new highway system” for the safe and secure transport of the media to these event sites.
Assigning credentials took more than just a few prayers. Big demand for presence in small venues required us to sensitively assign media passes.
The historic and successful visit of Pope Francis was due in large part to the citywide collaboration among critical partners: U.S. Secret Service, top public relations firms, local tourism bureaus, and esteemed city leaders.
But it was the world-class logistics program we engineered that ultimately established the pinnacle from which international media captured in time these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Whether it meant hand-holding more than 10,000 fast-paced media representatives or conveying ever-evolving operations updates — from road closures and metro outages to parking enforcement and transportation updates — our efforts enabled The World Meeting of Families to celebrate the Pope’s deeply personal interactions with the masses here, on U.S. soil. And in doing so, we enabled the world to share in it.