MANCHESTER, N.H., 6:45 p.m. — Welcome to the Carr Center at Saint Anselm College, which tonight is the headquarters for what seems to be all of the media in the United States.

In a building that looks something like the Lanman Center at Paine Whitney Gymnasium, hundreds upon hundreds of journalists are seated facing two massive projection screens, like those used at trendy rock concerts. In about a half hour, the Republican debate will begin.

For most of the year, this room houses three full-court basketball courts, and the News is seated at the top of the key of the middle court. The St. Petersburg Times is to our left; The Houston Chronicle is to our right.

By our count, there are seats for more than 500 reporters in this room, and it is crowded.

“There’s not a single (expletive) empty seat,” one writer just said as he passed our desk.

It is an incredible sight.

-Thomas Kaplan