Meeting AIJC-Unipublic-ASO: Vuelta 2016 review
On February 1st the AIJC, Unipublic and ASO held their annual meeting in Madrid to review the working conditions for media in the 2016 Vuelta and discuss what measures will be taken to improve them in 2017. Present were Alasdair Fotheringham as Spain’s AIJC rep., Laura Cueto, press officer for Unipublic, and (via a phone connection) Marion Gachies for ASO.
• It was confirmed that the virtual overall winner’s final press conference will be held in the Angliru main press room, in Riosa, on the evening of the second last stage. It was promised there would be no repeat of 2013 when the Vuelta last visited the Angliru and a pointlessly short final press conference was held on the morning of the Madrid stage. The Vuelta organisers also agreed to hold further discussions with the AIJC about the logistical arrangements for the two long transfers in the race.
2. For 2017, any finish which is less than 200 metres away from the press room, the day’s winner and race leader will be brought into the press room to take questions directly, rather than using a video conference link.
3. Unipublic have promised to continue to try to re-integrate the Vuelta’s historic section into the race’s main website, a longstanding request of the AIJC.
4. Unipublic requested that the deadlines for accreditation be respected more rigorously by the media. They said exact dates will be published on the website.
5. Revised timetables for the Vuelta pressroom were set up. The pressroom will now open from 1200 to 2130 on normal stages, 1600-1900 on the two rest days (when the number of media using the press room tends to be extremely low) and from 1400 to 2230 on the last day when there is an evening stage and the womens’ WT race earlier on.
6. Unipublic have promised to continue to revise the production of results in a paper-based format for the press room: The system used showed a slight improvement compared to 2015 but it still has to be improved a lot more.
7. It was promised that the parking systems for ‘press avant’ and ‘press arrierre’ at starts will be much more clearly set out and indicated than previously. The question of size of each of the two areas will depend a lot on the accessibility of the start for press vehicles. Unipublic also promised to ensure that the police and security staff are 100 percent aware of the validity of press credentials for the appropriate start areas, as was not the case in the first week of the 2016 Vuelta.
8. Unipublic promised that the signalling to the Grand Depart press room, which was the only press room which failed to be clear in 2016, will be much more detailed in 2017, starting from the motorways coming off from Nimes. They will also send out a list of all the press rooms, complete with locations, a week before the race. The vastly improved press room now used in Madrid will be maintained. On the first day the press room will be directly opposite the finish in Nimes, rather than 25 kilometres away as was the case for the opening ttt in the 2016 Vuelta.
9. Unipublic promised to ask local councils to provide press rooms at a maximum distance of 500 metres from the finish, although it was noted that this possibility is always subject to town-by-town negotiation.
10. The pressroom will have a new wifi system in 2017, operated by Movistar. This will hopefully iron out any last glitches in a system which was, in any case, much improved on the 2015 service.
11. A new, extra ‘interview space’ will be provided in the ‘zone mixte’ at finishes for the written press to have the opportunity for flash interviews with all the classification leaders and other interviewees.
12. Areas which already work well in the Vuelta’s working conditions (translations, website, live ticker, catering’, signalling, bus transfers to the finish, etc) will be maintained without changes.
13. The Vuelta promised to look into the creation of a new format route book, more similar to the compact versions used into the Giro, and revise the format, for now wholly inadequate, of the route alternatifs which are provided.
14. The Vuelta promised to look harder at the question of race accreditations for journalists, given there is still, in the AIJC’s opinion,a lot of work to be done on establishing a clear difference between professional and amateur journalists on the race and excluding the latter.
15. At the finishes, it was promised that they would work on cutting down the ‘invasions’ of the press tv area by team staff, who make it much harder to see the race on the tv monitors.
16. It was agreed to keep open the lines of communication between the Vuelta and AIJC for what has become a very productive working relationship, with big improvements year-on-year in working conditions.
Alasdair Fotheringham (board AIJC)