There hasn't been a contested convention for a major party since Gerald Ford beat back a challenge from Ronald Reagan in 1976, but these made-for-TV events still have the potential to make news - and maybe more so this year, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton getting ready to claim the nominations of their not exactly united parties.
Thanks to PBS's partnership with NPR and improvements in technology, said Woodruff, who'll be anchoring with Gwen Ifill, "We have reporters on the floor, we have reporters outside the building, we have the ability to monitor what everybody's doing at any given moment. It's just become more of a surround-sound, surround-video kind of experience."
One thing that hasn't changed: PBS still plans three prime-time hours of coverage each night of the conventions, two more than ABC, CBS, and NBC (though, in a nod to a newsy election cycle, they've all added back the Monday-night hour subtracted four years ago).
With an estimated 1,500 media outlets credentialed for the DNC alone, there are more ways to watch a convention than there ever were in the days when ABC, CBS, and NBC went wall to wall.
Nostalgia aside, how can that not be good news?
"I certainly saw the appeal of having those big voices, with a national town square that can be [seen by] tens of millions, but . . . those days are gone," said Bloomberg's Mark Halperin, a former political director for ABC News who's now often seen on MSNBC, NBC's Today show, and PBS's Charlie Rose as well as Bloomberg TV.
Halperin, coauthor of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, has covered both parties' conventions since 1992, and he's learned to work in a fragmented universe. He'll be in Cleveland and Philadelphia, offering news commentary on multiple platforms while producing and costarring in Showtime's weekly documentary series, The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth.
However the coverage is packaged, Halperin believes the fundamental mission hasn't changed.
"You want to chronicle a little bit of the process, some of the personalities and pageantry, and a ton of the core message of letting the nominee and his or her family kind of have a four-day opportunity to present their policies and their personalities to the country," he said.
"ABC is all-in in a much bigger way than we have been in many years," said Marc Burstein, senior executive producer of events for ABC, and the same appears to be true of its broadcast rivals. Look for Cleveland and Philadelphia to be awash in network anchors.
Cable news, of course, is all-in, and then some.
The hosts of Fox News Channel's The Five have turned their forthcoming trips to Cleveland and Philadelphia into a fifth-anniversary road trip - to include a stop at Geno's Steaks - but for those watching in prime time, anchors Bret Baier and Trump's sparring partner Megyn Kelly will be doing the honors.
At CNN, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Philadelphia's Jake Tapper, Dana Bash, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon will anchor weeknight coverage.
At MSNBC, Philadelphia's Chris Matthews will preside over the cable channel's prime-time coverage with Rachel Maddow and Brian Williams.
But there's more. Much, much more:
Want your convention news with the least amount of filtering possible? C-SPAN, continuing its 32-year tradition of "covering every minute of every convention," will provide live, commentary-free coverage of the proceedings. Its cameras will also be stationed around Philadelphia and Cleveland to provide a "delegate's-eye view" of both cities. Missed a speech? C-SPAN.org archives them. Even ones that, unlike Clint Eastwood's 2012 debate with an empty chair, will never make a splash on YouTube.
Who needs a TV when you can see all the major broadcast networks streaming live coverage, plus The Daily Show, on Snapchat? The first episode in a three-part series, The Daily Show Convention Coverage 2016: Democalypse Now, was to premiere on the image-messaging service on Friday.
Other phone-friendly options include Twitter, which is partnering with CBS News to stream coverage from the network's digital service, CBSN, as well as individual TV news organizations' mobile apps.
For Villalobos, a 20-year-old journalism student at the University of Massachusetts who will cover the GOP convention, the moment when Trump announced his candidacy by "calling Mexicans rapists and criminals" was a turning point. He and Santana, who will be in Philadelphia for the DNC, hope to highlight issues of interest to young Latinos.
Santana, who'd already had some TV experience at E! News Now, was urged to enter the competition by her mother, who shares her passion for politics. She hopes to buttonhole politicians on issues like immigration, gun control, and health care.
NBCNews.com, which may not be as familiar with online comments sections (or Facebook) as it should be, thinks voters still may have secret, unexpressed thoughts about the candidates or the presidential election and is inviting them to share them anonymously in an experiment it's calling "Election Confessions." Details (and examples) are at electionconfessions.com.
Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will be based at the convention cities for the next two weeks, with regular episodes running Tuesday through Friday at 11 p.m. In Philadelphia, the show will originate from the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center. (On Friday, it was announced that the Thursday shows, on the last night of both conventions, would air live.) The channel also plans two Daily Show specials at 11 p.m. for the next two Mondays.
Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers are not, alas, coming to Philadelphia - or going to Cleveland - but CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will be live at 11:35 p.m. for the next two weeks to allow its politics-minded host to be up to date on all the convention doings.
NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers is scheduled to go live on Thursday - or, for sticklers, at 12:35 a.m. Friday - on what's expected to be the night of Trump's acceptance speech. No word yet from NBC on whether he'll do the same on the night Hillary Clinton speaks.
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher will add two live half-hours (11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursdays) from Los Angeles this week and next. Non-subscribers can stream them live (youtube.com/RealTime) or see them the next day on Maher's Facebook page.