Unofficial media get center at Olympics

SYDNEY: Organizers are looking to control the hordes of 'unofficial' journalists at the Olympic Games this year with an additional press center.

SYDNEY: Organizers are looking to control the hordes of 'unofficial' journalists at the Olympic Games this year with an additional press center.

SYDNEY: Organizers are looking to control the hordes of 'unofficial' journalists at the Olympic Games this year with an additional press center.

The Sydney Media Centre is the first of its type to be established during the games. It will offer a multifaceted reporting and broadcast facility to the expected 5,000 journalists not accredited by their national Olympic Committees and consequently without access to the Main Press Centre or International Broadcast Centre.

After the Atlanta bombing, there was concern that much of the negative press came from unaccredited journalists, who were not briefed by officials.

Jane Sloane, Sydney Media Centre's GM, said the center would ensure 'that all media regardless of Olympic accreditation have a base from which to source information, and spokespeople will ensure the most democratic media access possible at this Olympic Games.' The center will be located off-site and has a budget of dollars 3.8 million.

The move to add an additional media center comes at a time when the Games Organizing Committee has suffered a series of PR blunders over the past 18 months, including everything from canceled marching band contracts and threats of Aboriginal protests to charges of bribery and a ticket scandal.

Despite the need to dissipate the potential media impact of political protests or some unforeseen crisis, Sloane said the center's biggest challenge will be managing the IT needs of journalists.

'These are really the first Internet-driven games. Keeping people happy, not just the media but the stakeholders, is also important,' she said.

- See feature, p22.



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