Thanks to everyone who turned out for the IAEJ Annual General Assembly held October 3, 2010 during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. Aside from electing a new Bureau to the next four-year term, membership agreed to modernize the Bureau, reducing it from nine members to seven; a more workable arrangement, which also reflects the fact that Europe is no longer divided. A huge thank you to departing Bureau members: Kit Houghton, (GBR) Gabriele Pochhammer, (GER) Julie Wilson (AUS) and Milena Dragisic, (HUN) who were so helpful and gave up so much of their time for the IAEJ throughout their many years of service.
Revision of Statutes
After some healthy discussion we also successfully voted with a two-thirds majority to approve the latest changes to the statutes. Previously using our online voting system members approved the changes to one paragraph describing who our members are. We voted to exclude the words “audio-visual press” in favor of “professional equestrian media, including all current and future new media”. What was left to do in Lexington was to finish that sentence. Members voted to change: “in charge of regular coverage of international equestrian sports, e.g. jumping, horse trials, dressage and driving” to: “in charge of regular coverage of all aspects of FEI sports”, in order to become more inclusive of journalists that cover non-competition elements, i.e. the industry.
A vote to group membership into categories, depending on the type of work they do or the level of their activity, nationally and internationally, was deferred until such a time that criterion for each tier of membership could be defined. Categorizing membership is something the IOC was keen for us to do some time ago in order to bring our house in order and ensure membership was truly representative of professionals working in the industry. Times have changed greatly within the entire industry since this was first muted (at least 10 years ago) and with our stricter application system and adherence to membership criteria I think we have adequately addressed the situation. I would be interested to know how many members believe we need tiered membership before we progress this issue further.
FEI Associate Membership
There was very hearty debate on the subject of the IAEJ formalizing its collaboration with the FEI as an Associate Member along with other stakeholder groups like the riders clubs, organisers etc. Numerous voices were heard, the vast majority with the view that independence was vital and should never be compromised even if it were in “name only”. A vote was taken which made it very clear that membership was not in favor of any formal tie. However, it was proposed that we should approach the FEI with the idea of re establishing the Media Advisory Group (disbanded around five years ago). I would like to propose a reinstatement of the Media Advisory Panel or something similar, but not before we can come to the FEI with a solid idea of what we want this panel to achieve and what the benefits would be. As I see it, this panel could formally assist organisers of championships from the outset, even from the bid stage, to ensure media guidelines are adhered to and the credentialing process appropriate to the event. Please email any thoughts you may have on this to me at [email protected].
Julia Rau (GER) mentioned that we should have the resources on the FEI website made available to us regardless of our status; a proposition I will also pursue with the FEI.
Mark Wentein’s (BEL) suggestion that the FEI should give IAEJ members’ free subscriptions to FEI TV is a very good one. I am glad to say that we have already made a proposal to the FEI regards this and have had positive feedback. We should have an answer as to how this can be accomplished after the FEI General Assembly.
Regarding our WEG experience, Chris Stafford, IAEJ Secretary is putting together a file to send to Normandy, the FEI and WEG Foundation (for their info) for the purpose of making sure of improvements for the next WEG, e.g. that hotels are not extortionate, and that live results are essential for journalists on tight deadlines. With regards to the lack of live results in Lexington; they were covered by Marty’s bid document but the OC determined they fell into the “nice to haves” and were too costly to provide. This is another thing we will ask the FEI to insist is a mandatory service to be provided by organizers. Your input is needed on WEG in order to produce a full report so please do use the online forum (https://equijournalists.com/forum/list.php?2) or send Chris an email ([email protected]) with your views. Don’t forget to include the good as well as the bad.
Since the WEG, Karin Robinson has been terrier-like in her determination to get to the bottom of the reason why the individual dressage judges’ marks were not made available to us. It turns out that the GJ president either did not know the rules or decided to contravene them. Unfortunately, we were told that the results service would not provide them. Now we know that this is an FEI condition, we won’t let that happen again.
I spoke to Rod Kohler and Merrick Hayden in Lexington about how Rolex could be more involved with the IAEJ; something Rolex is very keen to do. We talked about annual awards as a possibility but Alltech have indicated that they wish to continue with the concept started around the WEG. (see below). I will keep in touch with Rolex on what we can do together; it may be that they would sponsor our membership subscription to FEI TV. I also wrote to thank Magali Dubois Vaucher at Rolex for the generous luncheon they gave for the media during WEG.
We are negotiating the format at the minute but the idea is to have Journalist and Photographer of the Year awards and possibly a broadcaster-podcaster-blogcaster of the year with a reception/presentation at World Cup Finals. We are working on figuring out all the ins and outs of how this will be judged, by whom etc so we can have something in place for 2011.
Our national delegate program seems to have fallen by the wayside just a bit but we hope to rectify this. I have asked Lotta Amnestal to be our point person in Scandinavia, and Anna Sharpley has agreed to take on this role for Australasia. If any members have any issues or problems with media services in these areas please go to Lotta or Anna first. Your Bureau can of course try and help with any specific problems in their own countries, so please do contact us too. Ideally we should have at least one person per continent to act as our representative so if you are interested in being a national delegate please let Chris or myself know. In North America, for example, we’d like US East and West Coast volunteers, same for Canada. Photographers please apply! The more active you are, and the more shows you go to, the more valuable you can be to the IAEJ in helping to ensure our standards are met.
In the meantime our representatives at forthcoming championships are:
* Kim Kreling for Leipzig Jumping, Dressage and Driving World Cups * Candela Milan Dopico for the European Jumping Championships in Madrid * Claartje van Andel for the European Championships in Rotterdam * Eduardo Tame for the Pan Am Games in Mexico
The IAEJ is currently composed of 205 members. We have over 40,000 US$ in cash reserves to cover expenses which mainly consist of running the office in Canada, including book keeping, mailings and website maintenance and our now bi-annual lunch – of which over 100 availed themselves in Lexington – way over the number who went to the meeting! The Bureau proposes to use funds to send members to meet with organizers, and make site visits in advance of championships. I think in future we might also consider funding an IAEJ rep to attend the FEI General Assembly or an annual meeting with the FEI in Lausanne.
Finally, Chris and I all met individually with members of the Normandy team for the 2014 WEG in Kentucky. Xavier, of course, is all over this and will be a critical go-between for us. I think it might be best to leave aside our initial impressions and suffice to say that Normandy will be run by government officials (politicians) managed by Fabien Grobon, formerly MD of Marketing and Licensing for the French Open Tennis Championships. He said 60% of the 50M Ã¢â??Â¬URO projected budget will be funded by the state, city (Caen), and region (Normandy). We can report that Alltech is likely to figure prominently as sponsor again and there seems to be no shortage of luxury goods sponsors in equestrian in this area of France, nor expertise in show organization. Based on his experience and expertise and (nationality!) the IAEJ is formally backing Pascal Renauldon in his bid to run the media service. I can assure you we will also be making site visits this time and checking out as many accommodation/transportation options as we can for IAEJ members.
Please keep an eye on the website, twitter and Facebook for updates. Until then, if anyone has anything they would like to discuss or bring to the Bureau’s attention, please email or start a discussion on the Forum.
On behalf of the Bureau,