Tips for journalists on making the most of London 2012

When London hosted the Olympic Games in 1948, just over 2,000 journalists were accredited to cover the event.

Newspaper proprietors had to stump up around £10,000 to help set up a press centre at Wembley's Civic Hall, which boasted a quiet room for journalists to write and a converted laundry which made for a makeshift press bar.

The London 2012 International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre (IBC/ MPC) at the Olympic Park in Stratford, will host over 20,000 broadcasters, photographers and journalists, across 80,000 square meters. The 24-hour media hub, headed up by LOCOG's head of press operations, Jayne Pearce, will offer state-of-the-art facilities for all media that managed to secure one of the much sought after, access all areas, category 'E'press accreditations.

In 1948, reporters had to take public transport to get to the events and the BBC had just paid £1000 for the TV rights to broadcast the Games; over 60 hours of coverage was broadcast to around 50,000 homes within range.

At London2012, the media will be bringing the Games to an estimated four billion people worldwide.

The facilities will contain a 1,300-space multi-storey car park, a studio tower with panoramic views, a McDonald's restaurant and a 200m high street that will include a hairdressing salon, bank and a catering village serving an expected 50,000 meals every 24 hours.

By now, all accredited press should have received the ‘Olympic Press Facilities and Services' guide for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These guides will be a reporter's survival manual during Games time and contain information on all the facilities available; including details on opening hours and transport options.

'Take time in advance to read all the media guides so you do not waste time and temper arguing about issues or arrangements you cannot alter,'offers sports writer Keir Radnedge, who has covered every World Cup finals since 1966 and two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010).

London 2012 is tipped to be the most social Olympics ever, with Twitter and social media set to play a central role in Olympics coverage. Despite the incredible facilities that will be available to media, organisers have been criticised for the internet charges that will apply to accredited media, which will cost £150 for the Olympics and more again for the Paralympics.

Journalists that require internet access can arrange it ahead of the Games by emailing pressratecard@ london2012.com with your request.

Tips for non-accredited journalists

As sports fans raced to get their hands on tickets for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the UK media were making a dash for their own golden ticket: a press pass to the world's biggest event.

Not since Willy Wonka opened the doors to his chocolate factory has demand for access to an event caused such frenzy. And, as many journalists quickly discovered, it wasn't only demand for spectator tickets that far outweighed the supply – thousands of members of the UK press missed out on media accreditation granting them access to the Games.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) that handled the distribution of UK press passes for London 2012, received more than 3000 requests for the approximately 400 accreditations available – leaving many journalists disappointed.

It's a situation that sports writer Keir Radnedge describes as a 'classic own goal'that'll mean a number of 'top-class journalists and photographers watching the Games on TV".

But reporters don't necessarily need to be trackside this summer to impact on the Olympic headlines.

Despite non-accredited media not being able to access the Olympic venues, good preparation and the right facilities will allow reporters to cover all the sporting action as well as having the opportunity to report on the wider stories about London and the UK in and around Games time.

Set to host around 10,000 non-accredited media that are expected to be in the capital during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the London Media Centre (LMC) will offer the most extensive 'back-up plan'for journalists that missed out on accreditation.

Run by London & Partners, the LMC will be based close to Horse Guards Parade (where the beach volleyball competition will take place) and will provide facilities and news generation services – including the use of a main working area, a press conference room for over 200 people and an all important dining area for media to recharge.

Reporters will be able to follow all the sports action during the Olympic and Paralympic periods on screens throughout the venue. Away from the sports, the LMC will also run a service producing news content to journalists covering the wider London 2012 stories such as tourism, transport, economics, lifestyle and technology. The facility will also have a work area for photographers and registered broadcast media will have access to rentable edit suites, playout facilities and stand-up positions connected back to a control room.

Whether accredited or not, London 2012 offers the UK media a unique opportunity to set the global news agenda and the sport and surrounding events will be dominating news lists for the duration.

Among Radnedge's top tips on covering London 2012, he implores the UK media to embrace the Games.

'Covering London 2012 for UK journos will be a unique professional experience,'he says. 'Enjoy it. So you can look back with a smile on the entire experience."

If you have any queries about press services and operations at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, you can email pressoperations@london2012.com.

For details on the London Media Centre, visit www.londonandpartners.com

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