More than 13,000 reporters are arriving in London this week. The infrastructure to house and support them is as impressive as any other Olympic monument.
The first “city” press centre was pioneered in Sydney in 2000 to cater for visiting reporters offering global coverage of Sydney and Australia. Each subsequent Olympics has copied the idea, providing journalists with media offers of discounted admission to tourist attractions, travel and accommodation to give local tourist industries a boost. In London, 5800 will be covering the sporting competitions and another 7200 reporters will cover cultural and social events surrounding the Games. Glen Kirton, the CEO of event managers Rushmans, which is running the facility, tells Crikey the bulk of the reporting pool began arriving on Monday.
The HQ for the London media centre is the transformed offices of the Institution of Civil Engineers — a grand building at One Great George Street, about 200 metres from Big Ben. The building’s grand ballrooms and function rooms have been furnished with desks, internet connections and power points for 300 reporters. There’s two media conference rooms, sitting 100 or 200 people, along with dozens of radio and television broadcast studios.
The facility will broadcast live coverage of several different sporting competitions simultaneously on seven plasma screens. It will also stream London news on the LMC website for media organisations to download, and daily press conferences will be streamed live on the website. Government ministers next door at the Palace of Westminster, or around the corner at Downing Street, will also be within easy reach to respond to breaking news.