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World news agencies expect much from Beijing 2022: IOC head of media operations

2019-04-15 15:47:00 Xinhuanet

BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhua) -- World news agencies have very high expectations of Beijing 2022, said Anthony Edgar, head of International Olympic Committee media operations, at the first World Agency Meeting of the Games which concluded here on Thursday.

"Beijing has already hosted the 2008 Olympic Games, which all of the world's media came to and which was very successful," Edgar told Xinhua. "The agencies have very high expectations of Beijing 2022."

The first World Agency Meeting of Beijing 2022 assembled representatives from major world agencies including the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Kyodo News.

"We know already that you know how to build wonderful venues and to put on a great games. And of course, what we need to work together on is to help you with how to run a winter games," he said.

"They (the agencies) are here to see Beijing in winter conditions, and especially to see the Alpine venues and to meet the new staff that will be working on Beijing 2022," he added.

IOC honorary president Juan Antonio Samaranch said that the international media more than anyone else measure the success of the Games and Edgar agrees.

"The Media operations of Beijing 2022 should make sure that the media can do its job," he said.

The scale of press operations at an Olympic Games is huge. Over 6,000 print and online media will work at the MPC, and each competition venue. For larger International News Agencies, an Olympic Games means a deployment of a huge amount of staff and resources. Information on every sport event (including real-time results and athlete biographies) should be found on the Games INFO service, easily accessed online or in the media work rooms.

While China has organized Olympic Summer Games in 2008 and Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2014, hosting a Winter Games is a different animal entirely.

"(The weather at) Beijing 2008 was very hot, while Beijing 2022 will be very cold, in the mountains especially," Edgar said. "The photographers, the cameraman, the reporters will have to deal with very cold temperatures."

"So the organizing committee needs to make sure that the media are well looked after, and then their communications are working properly," he added.

With the explosion of the Internet, the demand for an accurate, fast and unbiased Olympic news service has never been stronger. To this end, the IOC has produced the Olympic Information Service (OIS).

"The OIS does not do the job of the media," Edgar said. "But what it does is having its reporters in every single venue, doing interviews with athletes, doing reports on all of the sports, all of the athletes, all of the countries and regions, so that the media can cover these sports wherever they are."

IOC President Thomas Bach announced in January that the IOC had recognized Xinhua News Agency as an international news agency, alongside AP, AFP and Reuters.

Edgar said that the decision was made due to Xinhua's increasing participation in promoting the Olympic Movement around the world.

"It's a very important recognition. For over thirty years, the IOC only recognize AFP, AP and Reuters as international news agencies, and it now also recognizes Xinhua.

"There's a number of reasons for that. And the main one is China's participation in the Olympic Games. China also has become one of the biggest countries in the world. And Xinhua is one of the largest news agencies in the world with bureaus all over the world.

"Xinhua is producing content not just in Chinese for a Chinese market, but also producing content of multiple languages for an international market," he said.

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