The IAEJ has been quite productive and proactive since the beginning of the year. Following up on Mark Wentein’s suggestion made at the General Assembly during the WEG in Kentucky last October, we approached the FEI about free subscriptions to FEI TV for IAEJ members. At a meeting with Grania Willis, director of FEI press relations, in December in London, we brokered the deal which has brought 65 members this service. There are still 35 subscriptions left so if you want access to FEI events via FEI TV contact Chris Stafford immediately as the offer closes on September 1, 2011.
In March, on behalf of members who had not received Olympic accreditation in the first instance from their National Olympic Committees, I wrote to all NOCs and National Federations, in support of their applications. I can’t say if we will have the same problem in Rio 2016, that is, demand far exceeding supply (accreditations across all sports for London are 50% down) but the IAEJ needs to make sure that it maintains good relationships with NOCs and NFs so they will accept our guidance and advice when making critical decisions concerning Olympic accreditations. There is much more work to be done on this front. Thankfully the FEI were given some specialist accreditations to allocate and 35 journalists and photographers who missed out first time around and applied for the FEI waiting list, have since received their accreditation for London. I was not entirely pleased with the level of the FEI’s co-operation in sharing information and although it has not been said outright, it does make me wonder if this is in some way retribution for the IAEJ’s unwillingness to become an Associate Member of the FEI.
Despite several requests to advise on the appointment of a press officer for London 2012, LOCOG ignored us and we were very disappointed to have been left out of the process that we had established for Hong Kong. As I understand it, the IAEJ wasn’t the only authority sidelined as LOCOG chose to take their own course in this respect. This is not meant to demean the appointment of Badminton Horse Trials press officer Julian Seaman, who I am certain will do his best to look after us. I am pleased to report that he will have some strong backing as the very capable, IAEJ member of long standing, Peter Llewellyn has been appointed Photo Manager. His wife Jean, also a long standing member, will lend her expertise to the News Service at the Greenwich Park site.
Greenwich will be a great venue. It’s quite compact and very close to public transportation links. As I understand it if you stay at the media hotels in Russell Square you will have access to a shuttle-service direct to the Park. I have asked LOCOG for a progress report regards accommodation and transportation and I hope to hear back from them once the dust has settled over the test event. The large media center itself is right next to the main arena. We are working with the FEI and LOCOG to establish suitable placement of the press seats and direct routes between media center Ã¢â?¬â?? press seats and mixed zone. I was told there will be golf carts or the like to transport media up and down the (not inconsiderable) hill on cross-country day. As I say above, more on London 2012 to come.
Photographers attending the NAJYRC this year should thank Chris Stafford for pointing out to us that USEF policy concerning the sale of photographs at this event seemed to be unnecessarily restrictive and prohibitive. This led me to ask the USEF to explain the ambiguous language used in the NAJYRC Media Application Agreement and to consult the FEI on this matter. It turns out that the FEI has nothing in the contract nor in the FEI rules that prevent either the USEF or the Organiser from restricting the accreditation of photographers or the use of the photos taken by them at the Championships. Lisa Lazarus, the FEI’s General Counsel, spoke to Sonja Keating at the USEF and was told that the policy of restricting the sale of photographs (“Any images taken by a credentialed media may only be used in relation to their assignments, and not for further sale”) is standard procedure for all US sporting events.
This policy does not in any way restrict professional photographers from selling their images to media sources. Other photographers can and will be accredited, but they cannot sell the images as posters, sell them on to commercial bodies such as sponsors or advertising agencies, or to consumers such as the general public. Only one official photographer will be allowed to sell their work from the show outside the media. They will not be paying a fee to the show, but will have exclusivity in the marketplace for commercial purposes.
The upshot of the matter is that the FEI Legal department is looking into changing the wording in future contracts to make sure it’s absolutely crystal clear that professional photographers are in no way restricted from selling images taken at any event to media sources.
NO ROOM AT THE AACHEN INN
You may have followed the back and forth on Facebook concerning the lack of seats for media in the dressage arena at Aachen this year. I wrote to the CHIO’s director Frank Kemperman two days after Aachen finished with some constructive criticism on this subject. He replied the same day to say that he welcomed input from stakeholders and the issue would be discussed and a solution found. “Ten years ago we built the Deutsche Bank stadium for dressage and everybody asked us why we were building such a huge stadium. Now everything is too small ! We will find a solution in the interest of the media.”
Now that’s the sort of attitude all organisers should embrace!