SXSW Day-One Notebook: Fewer Brands, More Politics

SXSW Day-One Notebook: Fewer Brands, More Politics
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FBI Director James Comey had to cancel his planned trip to the SXSW Conference, citing "scheduling conflicts" that definitely had nothing to do with trying to clear the agency of tapping Donald Trump's phones during the campaign. Delta offered people on my overbooked flight $800 each to find some other way to Austin from New York. And other flights were canceled outright as some hopefully final winter weather messed up long-planned itineraries. But Day One of SXSW got underway anyway, with thousands of attendees again on hand to line up for badges, food, panels and parties. -- Nat Ives

TRUMP, TRUMP, TRUMP

If the first day of panels was any indication of how the rest of the tech, film and music confab will play out, there will be plenty of Trump analyzing, questioning and, unsurprisingly for this crowd, bashing. At the center: how news organizations are covering a Trump presidency. CNN's Jake Tapper told attendees that when he frames questions for the air, he thinks about whether his kids be proud of him. And looking ahead already to the 2020 presidential election, Tapper said there needs to be more coverage of policy in a way that helps people understand what it means and less focus on all of the controversy. -- Jeanine Poggi

LIBERALS AREN'T INNOCENT EITHER

But it's not just President Trump that got a beat-down. CNN's Van Jones got a standing ovation for his inspiring speech about how we all need to spend more time understanding each other. "What happened to liberals?" Jones asked a room that was most likely predominantly filled with liberals. "Don't tell me about Trump, what happened to liberals?" -- Jeanine

BEST SESSION TITLE OF DAY ONE

"Feelings: How Can We Suppress Them? Meet Up"

SUBDUED BRANDS

The brands are harder to find at this year's SXSW. There are 350 official sponsors, compared to last year's 450, and that has been the talk among many agency and ad folks who are veterans of the event.
Read more at Ad Age

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