There's no news here. Political conventions are nonevents - outdated, overblown remnants of a fleeting past.

Suspense? There's more suspense watching the tide come in.

So why are 15,000 journalists covering the Democratic National Convention - more, probably, than will cover any other single news event this year?

One answer is habit. News organizations cover conventions because they've always covered conventions. "They have to let people go cover the conventions; it's sort of a morale thing," said Jack Germond, a Baltimore Sun columnist who has been covering conventions since 1964.

Another answer is that the convention is in New York, where many news organizations are based - and where the local news media are large and voracious.

Another is technology. Conventions are television events now, and television needs lots of people. "Television is the medium that requires a cast of thousands to get a few people on the air," observed Hal Bruno, ABC's political director.

Finally, some people, Mr. Bruno and Mr. Germond among them, seem to believe that conventions really do matter.

"This is a major news event, where the party will reveal itself for what it is, where it's headed and what its candidate will offer in the fall," said Steve Haworth, a CNN spokesman.

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