Happy New Year One and All,
The countdown to London’s Olympics has begun in earnest. In October 2011 I attended LOCOG’s World Press Briefing in London along with many colleagues from Television, Newspaper and Radio. Over the four days there were numerous talks, tours and seminars covering all aspects of the Games including transportation, logistics, catering, accommodation, etc. Hopefully those of you who have been accredited will find the information (contained under the heading World Press Briefing below) useful.
RESTRICTIONS ON PHOTOGRAPHERS
In non-Olympic news, after complaints from a number of photographers and the eagle-eyed Chris Stafford who picked up on the unfair restrictions placed on photographers wishing to cover the NAYRC (an international event sanctioned by the FEI) I wrote to the USEF complaining about their policy and offering our help and suggestions for a fairer and more modern approach suitable to the industry today and the equestrian sport as a whole. I am sorry to report the USEF has yet to respond. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Furthermore, I recently wrote to ESP, the organisers of the new series of dressage shows in Wellington and the Winter Equestrian Festival, who have included restrictive terms for photographers in their accreditation procedure, again, for international events. If organisers are going to run international events then they need to understand that they can not expect photographers to cover them if they place some peculiar national restriction on them which prevents photographers from selling their pictures (for which they own the copyright) after the event. Jamie Saults the press manager for the dressage festival has promised to take this to HQ on our behalf.
FEI TV SUBSCRIPTIONS
Unfortunately FEI TV subscriptions for IAEJ members come to an end on April 1st. I went to Lausanne at the end of January to discuss the renewal of last year’s offer which was a joint exercise between the IAEJ and the FEI to bring FEI TV free to members. Sadly the FEI is not in a position to continue this cooperation into 2012, mainly because of the costs involved, exclusive of the subscription. However, we still have 35 codes (already paid for) left over from 2011 to distribute in 2012. I agreed with Christian Osterode, the FEI Commercial Manager, that new members and those members who missed out last year would be given first refusal this time around. Whatever codes are left over after March 1 will be made available to everyone on a first come first served basis. Keep an eye on the website and your email for notifications.
I would add that I do not believe the door is closed on this subject and that our cooperation with the FEI on TV subscriptions may be resumed in the future. I would like to discuss this topic with members at the next AGM which will be held during the Olympic Games in London.
2012 AGM AND IAEJ/BEWA RECEPTION
I attended the British Equestrian Writers Association agm in London in December, after which I discussed the possibility of holding a joint reception for media during the Olympic Games with former IAEJ Bureau member and current BEWA president Kit Houghton.
Subsequently Kit approached HSBC, the sponsors of the HSBC Classics series of four star events, in hopes that they might be interested in supporting our endeavors. I am pleased to report that HSBC has responded positively to our request and I hope to be able to report soon as to what extent. I am hoping they will make available a very attractive venue and possibly contribute to our costs.
I am proposing to combine our AGM with a media forum and with the reception on August 3. The only competition (Dressage) on that day ends at 3pm. The media forum (in the evening) would feature a number of interesting guest speakers, representing, for example, LOCOG, the IOC, the FEI, and HSBC. Invitations to speakers will be issued once we have confirmed date and venue with HSBC.
WORLD PRESS BRIEFING
Peter Llewellyn is in overall charge of photographers at the Games. Specific to Greenwich Park photographers he tells me that: No unsilenced cameras will be allowed on the field of play.
There will be a restricted number of remotes at each fence, to be decided by PL, with all requests made to him. Three models of BLIMPS are being tested, a final decision on model approved will be made at Hickstead in June. Price to be decided. There will be at least THREE fences with city views offering photographers “outstanding opportunities to get classic London shots,” says Peter.
There will be NO limit on photographers on cross-country day, which means there will be a lot of photographers! Please remember that Pool photographers get priority for every sport at every venue. Normally the Photo Manager will be able to add NF photographers to the pool.
If you are bringing a lot of equipment it may be necessary to fill in a simplified Customs Declaration.
Peter believes that the lockers being provided by LOCOG are “the best we have ever had” and I would have to agree with him. They are large enough for a rolling bag with a shelf for a laptop and open and lock with a code.
Arriving and Accreditation validation
London Heathrow is the only official port of entry and LOCOG believes 80% of the Olympic Family will arrive through LHR.
There will be a signage trail and staff airside and landside directing you to accreditation validation and dedicated immigration lanes for Olympic Family. Accreditation validation will be BEFORE baggage reclaim and should take as little as 90 seconds!
There will also be a signage trail to the Heathrow Express (train into central London) which is FREE to the Olympic Family/members of the media from July 13 to September 12. Depending on the terminal of departure the journey time is 15-25minutes.
LOCOG WILL NOT PROVIDE FREE TRANSPORTATION INTO LONDON FROM ANY OTHER PORT OF ENTRY.
Please note that if you plan to film at LHR YOU NEED PERMISSION.
**Accredited media who are resident in the UK or do not arrive in the UK through LHR will need to go to the Main Accreditation Center (MAC) adjacent to the MPC to have their accreditation validated. MPC opens June 27.
There are transport hubs at the Olympic Park (MPC Transport Mall) and Russell Square (Transport Hub). It is a short walk to all hotels from Russell Square TH. The transportation service starts three days before the Opening Ceremony and ends 15 August. On competition days service runs three hours before competition starts and 4hrs post competition. Routes to competition venues will be numbered. LOCOG are saying that the journey times for Greenwich Park are:
30-35 minutes from the MPC 40-45 minutes from Russell Square LOCOG suggest it will take 35-40 minutes from Russell Square to MPC. Public transport is always an option.
The commuter boat service, Thames Clippers, runs between Greenwich Park and Embankment Underground station every 20 minutes. Journey time: 30 minutes. This service is NOT complimentary with your accreditation but is discounted with an Oyster Card, a touch in, touch out travel card.
For those planning on driving (NOT recommended) be aware that you will have to pay the Congestion Charge should you enter into the charge zone at anytime. There is limited parking at all venues.
The Info Kit Transport Guide is due to be published on Extranet site in February.
Venue Press Ops
There are 32 different press centers with 6,500 workspaces, some 60 tribunes and 12,000 seats for media. There are 12 venue tribunes which will not be under cover, Greenwich is one of them.
At Greenwich there will be 150 tabled seats in the main arena tribune and 200 non-tabled. There is supposed to be power and internet available in a portion of the non-tabled seats. Wired internet at each desk, shared monitors and power. There will be photo positions all four sides of the arena. The mixed zone is adjacent to the out gate. The location of the media tribune is under discussion. The Venue Media Center, which is very close to the arena is spacious with 200 workspaces, press and photo workrooms. There is wired internet at every desk and two power points per person.
Venue Media Center opens three days before competition starts but there is earlier access (from 16 July) by appointment. The VMC will open 3 hours before competition and remain open until four hours after competition ends.
There will be microphones and speakers to help everyone hear quotes; monitors to see the action and scores; and risers for small athletes. All medallists will be interviewed and shown on Olympic TV. There will be a dedicated press agency area.
The IBC and MPC are located within the Olympic Park and open 24 hours from July 15. There will be media tours of the Olympic Village residential zone on July 12, 24 and 26.
MyInfo and MyPrint
London techies have redesigned the Info system so that you should be able to access news, biographies, start lists, results, quotes, schedules and stats from ANYWHERE you can get an internet connection. Those working for accredited organizations but not on site, can apply for a myinfo account to work remotely. MyInfo is available for Ã?Â£150 as part of the Gold internet package or Ã?Â£70 for those who have an internet connection. You can cut and paste from Myinfo and view live Olympic results. MyInfo goes live on July 13. London is also introducing myPrint which allows press to print directly from their laptops. Users can send their printing from anywhere they can get online and pick it up at any myPrint device at any Games venue. The service is free for users who have purchased an internet account. The email address used to buy the account will automatically be registered. Please not that this service was in design and development stage in October.
You will be able to print information (stats, news, quotes) from My Info (from laptop, tablet or smart phone) and have access to this mobile service from anywhere. The service is free all you need to do is sign up for it. MyInfo goes live on July 13.