Friday, February 16, 2018

Living the glamorous life

My goal in these blog posts is to provide a little behind the scenes, the things that you probably don’t see on television, a look at the Olympics through my eyes as opposed to the eyes of the NBC camera people. Sometimes I’m at the most popular events and are covering those, but usually the blog posts I write have nothing to do with that.
As I write this now, I’m making my first trip on TM25, which goes directly from the media village in Gangneung to the Jeongseon Alpine Center, which is located pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Jeongseon is beautiful, but it is very remote and this bus ride will be the longest one I take during this Olympics.
But, I’ve written enough about the buses, so maybe it’s time to take a look at the media facilities.
The media is technically divided into two different groups, the print media (the press) and the broadcast media, which would be the television stations from around the world. And those two groups have separate headquarters in the mountain cluster of PyeongChang. The International Broadcast Center is the place where the television folks do their work. It is not a far walk from the Main Press Center, where the print media do their work. In between is a transport mall, where buses leaving for the three nearby facilities (Alpensia Sports Park – biathlon, cross-country and ski jumping, Alpensia Sliding Center - luge, skeleton and bobsled, and Yongpyong Alpine Center – slalom and giant slalom) are based. Media from both sides walk to the transport mall to catch the buses to those locations. The buses for the other locations are located at the IBC, with a shuttle available to take us from the MPC to the IBC if needed.
The Main Press Center building number one is located in the Alpensia Resort. The room where press do the majority of their work is the resort’s grand ballroom and it is lined with rows and rows of desks, all with wired Internet and power outlets as well as desk lamps. On the stage area of the ballroom is a couple of rows of lockers, which the press can use to store equipment.
The main workroom is located on the second floor, while the first floor includes a number of different rooms for press conferences. There is also a media café on the first floor and a full-service buffet restaurant in the basement. Unlike Sochi, there is no McDonald’s in the press center, which is probably a good thing.
There are actually two other MPC buildings, one is a permanent building and the other is a temporary building. The temporary building contains mostly offices, while the second building contains more work room along with press conference rooms.
Right outside the workroom is a stand that sells drinks and desserts mostly, though bottled water and coffee is available for free in the workroom.
Additionally, there is a media workroom (or three) in the Gangneung Media Village. This is a smaller version of the MPC, where press can work. It is actually located right outside my building but I’ve only worked there twice since I’ve spent much of my time in the mountain cluster.
Also, each venue has its own media center, where press can work. For the most part, these are temporary structures but they provide a good spot to get away from the cold weather. I’ve spent some time in a few of the venue media centers, mainly when events have been delayed and I want to get work done.
At each venue, there is also a mixed zone, where press gather to get interviews with the athletes. The athletes pass through a corral where they stop at television first and then make their way to the print press. Press attaches guide the athletes through the mixed zone to the locations, so if you want to speak with an athlete, you tell the attache and they will bring him or her to you.
That’s a look at what life is like for the press in PyeongChang. Really glamourous.

 This is the main workroom in the Main Press Center in the mountain cluster of PyeongChang.

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