Meeting Vuelta a España – AIJC

Vuelta a España organisation  – AIJC meeting – March 18th 2015
This year’s meeting to discuss the Vuelta and the media’s working conditions on the race was held on March 18th 2015 in Madrid, with a representative of the AIJC, ASO and Unipublic all present. The detailed discussion centred on the AIJC report on the 2014 Vuelta, what areas were already working well for the media on the race and which were in need of improvement.
  • The considerable year-on-year improvement – already better in 2013 and again in 2014 –  in  numerous areas  of the Vuelta’s services for working media on the race was noted. The big improvements in 2014 included the press conferences’ structure and translation services; much later opening times for the press room; the Vuelta’s website; the few elements that needed to be sorted out in what was an otherwise very good accreditation system; and the route book, although it still contains some inaccuracies, which were promised to be ironed out .
  • The maintenance of the Vuelta’s already well-working features such as: the much-appreciated press buffet;  the pre-race press conference; the race’s live ticker; the press room’s  organisation in general; race signalling; parking and working conditions at the starts and finishes; the friendly, helpful nature of race staff across the board in the press room; and  the pre-race press information sheet was also discussed.
  • It was promised that the wi-fi, which was widely criticised as one of the Vuelta’s poorest features, will be working via a new, and much improved, operating system this year.  The wifi will also remain free of charge, something regrettably not the case in the other two Grand Tours. This updating of the Vuelta wifi will also apparently benefit the audio quality of video conferences, as is urgently needed. A separate wifi ‘stream’ for media uploading tv images may also be possible and will be investigated.
  • The other main area in need of radical improvement, the paper format of the post-stage results, will also, it was promised, be improved.
  • A meeting will be held on the first rest day,  with the AIJC rep. on the race and a photographer and a member of the Vuelta’s press department all present, to discuss any urgently needed improvements. A member of the Guardia Civil and  Spain’s National Police Force will now also be invited to be present at the photographers’ pre-race meeting in order to discuss any potential specific issues and questions regarding their line of work.
  • The Vuelta’s rest days’ opening times will be published beforehand, with the press room open that day, in principle, from 2 pm to 9 pm.
  • The possibility of a presse avant and press arriere at starts, rather than one press parking area which creates traffic ‘issues’ for media and organisers alike, would be investigated.
  • It was  promised on the final day’s podium shots they would ensure priority for those photographers present on the entire race, rather than those just turning up for one day, on the final day.
  • It was reported to the organisers that a number of photographers have told the AIJC are unhappy that they are placed automatically in one long line for the podium ceremony, when they could be able to work from all sides and take more interesting pictures. The organiser says this automatic positioning does not, to their knowledge, take place. it was agreed to review this situation ‘live’ next September.
  • The possibility of all press conferences prior to the race, something obviously subject to teams approval,  being held in the main press centre will be investigated.
  • It was agreed that the final winners’ press conference would, in principle, be held on the evening of the second last stage – the final day in the mountains –  rather than on the morning of the final stage.
  •  It was agreed that the current level of communication between the Vuelta organisers and the AIJC should be maintained in the future for any further upcoming issues.