The AIJC hopes to keep improving working conditions for journalists in WorldTour races in 2014. Last year, one delegate represented our organization in each WorldTour race. The conclusion of the past season is that willingness and working conditions were rather good across all races.
However, many things didn’t go so well during the World Championships in Florence. Once again, the working journalists had the feeling that organizers lacked required knowledge and experience. The UCI would be well advised in the future to use the knowledge of the AIJC in order to improve the working conditions of the media. We shall soon submit a proposal to the UCI to that effect. In any case, we were pleased to be informed that the organisation of Ponferrada 2014 will consider the problems we have encountered in Florence, and that former MARCA journalist Josu Garai will coordinate the event.
Also throughout 2013, we had several meetings with various team press officers, and several good ideas came out of that interaction. Quick Step’s Alessandro Tegner’s motivation was remarkable in his desire to move forward. In 2014, a working group consisting of delegates from the AIJC and from the teams press officers will be organized.
But that does not detract the fact that it is still difficult to work with a small number of WorldTour teams. Too many team-imposed limitations deprive interviews from any spontaneity. The fact that some press officers are sitting at their riders’ side with a stopwatch while they are interviewed during minor stage races where very few journalists are present is something ridiculous.
The three major grand tours responded positively to the collaboration between the press officers and the AIJC. They are also studying the possibility to implement a working group involving the AIJC and the teams.
Moving into 2014, the AIJC will be even more careful with the professionalism of the journalists. Because of the proliferation of websites and blogs, more and more hobbyists are wandering in the pressrooms. For them, cycling races are synonymous with a dream vacation. The AIJC proposed the UCI to exercise more control over the accreditation lists on the occasion of the World Championships. Consultations are regularly held with all the other major organisers. We will, of course, do the same within the AIJC and give a member card to professional journalists only. We must set a good example.
Raymond Kerckhoffs (President)