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Did NATO Summit really attract 2,500 journalists?

The 2000 seats waiting for journalists from around word NATO Summit Chicago last weekend went mostly empty. | AbdPallasch~Sun-Times

The 2,000 seats waiting for journalists from around the word at the NATO Summit in Chicago last weekend went mostly empty. | Abdon Pallasch~Sun-Times

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Updated: May 28, 2012 4:07PM

The Host Committee that prepared the facilities for last weekend’s NATO Summit said 2,500 journalists from around the world had requested credentials to cover the event.

Yet the 2,000 seats along long tables at the cavernous press room at McCormick Place went mostly empty during the summit.

At the closing event, the news conference held by President Barack Obama, only about 600 journalists filled the room.

So how many journalists ultimately did make the trip to Chicago to cover the summit?

A State Department spokesman said he had no idea. A spokeswoman for the host committee said she heard about 2,200 journalists picked up credentials.

Many news organizations requested credentials for wide swaths of reporters but only ended dispatching a few of them to cover the summit.

The forecast by the Deloitte consulting firm that the summit would pump $128 million into Chicago’s economy was based in part on an assumption that 2,500 journalists were coming to town.

It’s unclear if the lower-than-expected turnout affects that forecast.

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