Beijing 2022 held its first World Agency Meeting from 8-11 April 2019, inviting nine of the world's most influential news agencies and media outlets on a 3-day venue tour in Beijing, Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou zones, plus a full day discussing media operations of the Games.
Representatives from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Kyodo News, Getty Images, European Pressphoto Agency, the New York Times, USA Today, and host news agency Xinhua joined the venue tour and attended the meetings at Beijing 2022’s Shougang headquarters.
They were briefed on Beijing 2022’s overall venue plans, especially the spaces, facilities, and services to be provided to written and photo journalists during the Games, including the Main Press Centre/Mountain Press Centre and Venue Media Centres.
The discussions also went over some of the details concerning the provision of cabled and wireless connections to file photos and stories, photo positions for photographers, tabled seats in the media stands for text reporters, mixed zones to interview athletes, etc.
In addition, Beijing 2022 explained to the media representatives tentative plans and policies on accreditation, transportation, accommodation, technology, and other subjects, so that they could start making logistical arrangements for their coverage of the Games.
The media have a vital role to play in the success of the Games and the Organising Committee is committed to facilitating the journalists’ work to cover them, said Zhang Jiandong, Vice Mayor of Beijing and Executive Vice President of Beijing 2022.
Beijing 2022 cherishes opportunities like the World Agency Meeting to understand the media’s perspectives and needs, and will keep their interests in mind in Games preparations over the next few years, Zhang said.
Anthony Edgar, the International Olympic Committee’s Head of Media Operations, recalled the close collaboration between Beijing, the IOC, and world media in the years leading up to the 2008 Games, which won acclaim for well-planned media operations.
The first World Agency Meeting was an important occasion “to start the partnership again,” Edgar said, adding that the Olympic Winter Games face peculiar challenges, not least cold weather, and the IOC is ready to work with Beijing 2022 to ensure best working conditions for the media.
The venue tour coincided with some lovely spring snowfall in Yanqing and Zhangjiakou.
“I can speak for everyone on the tour that all were very impressed with the state of the construction. The blue skies and snow were also very magnificent in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing,” Edgar said.
Gernot Hensel, Deputy Editor in Chief of European Pressphoto Agency, praised Beijing 2022 for accomplishing a lot of work “very ahead of time,” especially the efforts made to provide the media with enough accommodation in the mountain areas, which would be critical for journalists at the Olympic Winter Games.
Sandra Montanez, Getty Images’ Senior Manager of Sport Operations, also spoke highly of the progress being made in the mountain zones and expressed confidence that Beijing 2022’s plans for media transportation – in which the new Beijing-Zhangjiakou High Speed Railway will play a key role – would help photographers “easily move from venue to venue” and take iconic photos of the Games.
Pawel Kopczynski, Global Sports Editor of Reuters Pictures, and Denis Paquin, Deputy Director of Photography of the Associated Press, echoed Hensel and Montanez.
“I'm sure it's going to be equal to 2008, which was phenomenal… I think it'll be a great Games,” Paquin said.
Iconic Beijing 2008 venues like the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube will be used once again for Beijing 2022. The National Ski Jumping Centre in Zhangjiakou, the National Alpine Ski Centre in Yanqing, and Big Air Shougang and the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing are all expected to become new landmarks where defining Olympic moments will be captured by photographers.
Bob Martin, Photo Chief of London 2012 and now an advisor to the IOC, said that he was certain that Beijing 2022 venues “are gonna take us to a whole new level pictorially for the Winter Games.”
Straddling the Great Wall, the three zones of Beijing 2022 are steeped in culture and history. When the Olympic Winter Games open amidst Chinese New Year festivities in February 2022, local residents will be proud to present their hometowns to the world through the work of journalists from around the globe.
During the discussions at the World Agency Meeting, Beijing 2022 also took note of the issues and concerns raised by the media representatives, and will address them as it hammers out the details of the media operations plans.
Beijing 2022 organised its first World Broadcaster Briefing in February 2019, when Rights-Holding Broadcasters went on a similar venue tour and attended briefings. More World Broadcaster Briefings and World Agency Meetings will be held in the run-up to the Games. A World Press Briefing will also be held to include more media outlets.
Beijing 2022 will honour its pledge made during the bid to provide all that it takes for the press to produce great Olympic coverage, while making sure that media operations meet sustainability requirements outlined in Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm.
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