Covering the Conclave

April 18, 2005

Covering the conclave is a very involved operation with the coordination of dozens of engineers, technicians, cameramen, producers, reporters, runners, translators, coordinators, and other staff assembled here in Rome.

We have multiple locations from which we can report live, including a rooftop near the Vatican, a spot outside the Castel Sant' Angelo a few short blocks down the road from St. Peter's Basilica, and a remote wireless RF camera position right on the edge of St. Peter’s Square, where we can walk and talk live without the restrictions of cables connected to any dish or truck. The signal is transmitted via radio frequencies and gives us a lot more freedom to move as we talk to people gathered in and around the square. This is the camera I used during the funeral for Pope John Paul II.

We also have a couple robotic cameras pointed at the basilica, and the smokestack above the Sistine Chapel, so when the ballots are burned we can see live what color smoke comes out.

We have a camper at our location at the Castel Sant' Angelo, parked amid all the van-sized satellite trucks (they're smaller here than in the States,) and we're using it as a workspace, with phones and computers hardwired in. We also have a tent with tables and chairs between the camper and our live location on a riser facing St. Peter’s at the end of the Via della Conciliazione. Everyone else is in an office at our rooftop location.

It's a great setup, with one minor issue. The camper has a bathroom, but we've been told not to use it, and the city removed all the Porta Potties set up for the funeral — so we may have to show considerable patience and fortitude while we wait for the conclave's dramatic conclusion.

E-mail Rick!

[Ed. note: Click the video tab in the upper right to watch Leventhal's reports.]

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I've enjoyed both your reports on FNC and your "rambles" during your stay in Rome. Yes, there are thousands of coffee shops in Rome, all selling kick-you-in-the-pants coffee in little tiny cups.

If you are still in Rome or go back sometime, try to visit the Capuchin Crypt beneath the Capuchin Church of the Immaculate Conception. It's located on Via Veneto, near Barbarini Square and is amazing. I've never seen anything so strange or beautiful at the same time - it would be great if you could do a story on it.

Hope you enjoyed Rome a bit. Thanks again!
— Cat (Durham, NC)

Please thank everyone in charge at FOX News... I shall remember you all in my prayers so that you continue to do the marvelous reporting that you do each day. Thank you!

— Rosemary

Dear Mr. Leventhal,

Thank you so much for your outstanding work in Rome. As a college student, it has been difficult to be away from my parents and brothers during this time of grief, but I felt united with my family on account of your reporting and FOX's wonderful coverage. I would also like to take this opportunity to comment on your fantastic reporting in Iraq. Thank you for telling it like it is.

University of Notre Dame


Thanks for the well-written commentary. It was a great conclusion to a joyous week. You sure cover the globe.

— Tom

Excellent report on your trip. You actually made me feel like I was walking with you through your journey to see the Pope. Great writing. SCV


Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What a beautiful tribute.

— Maggie (Natchez,MS)

Thanks for the wonderful account of your visit to see the Holy Father. This past week has been rough for me, and for many, it seems. I'm not even Catholic, but my heart is filled with a great sadness at the loss of this shining example of what is good in our troubled world. Your story assures me that I am not alone.

— Michael (Farragut, TN)