23 July 2014

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Satchwell weighs into Olympics access row

The boss of the Society of Editors has added his voice to the mounting concerns over local press access to London 2012.

Organisers have faced criticisms after only one local newspaper, the Newham Recorder, was given media accreditation for the Games.

Now SoE executive director Bob Satchwell has written to the sports minister Hugh Robertson voicing concern over the issue.

His letter follows the revelation that applicants for media accreditation were judged partly on whether they had sent reporters to previous Olympic Games.

Writes Bob:  “We share the concern of local papers that have done so much to promote the Olympics.

“The Olympics are for the whole country, the legacy in part, is especially communities and the local papers that serve them. It is extremely important that they remain engaged and supported.”

“While the Press Association will of course do a splendid job in covering the games themselves it is the cultural issues that surround them that will be especially important for local papers.”

Bob’s letter was copied to Lord Moynihan, the chair of the British Olympic Association, and Lord Coe, the chairman of the organising committee.

Mr Robertson revealed the criteria used by the BOA for allocating press passes in a parliamentary answer yesterday.

It listed them as:  continuous editorial commitment to Olympic sport throughout the four-year Olympic cycle, history of attending Olympic Games, circulation numbers, and publication frequency.

Newsquest South and West London group managing editor Andrew Parkes, whose group failed to obtain a single pass, said the criteria ensured that the local press was “totally excluded.”

The Newspaper Society is working on plans to create a pool of accredited regional press journalists who will provide material to a range of titles, operating in a similar way to its Royal Rota.

3 Comments

  1. Subbo

    Is it just me or is the Society of Editors constantly picking the wrong fights ? Only recently, the society wanted members to fight a perfectly good piece of legislation aimed at protecting teachers from malicious pupils’ lies. Now this – going into battle to save the London Olympics freebie ambitions of local newspaper bosses. There are plenty of other, more pressing issues to get steamed up about.

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  2. Scott, Heywood

    It’s all cods. And where is the ‘mounting concern’ coming from? Unless I am missing something it comes from a few moaning editors wanting cheap and easy access. Cultural and legacy issues shouldn’t be a problem if journos put their minds to it. You can’t have journos running round Olympic sites speaking to officials, volunteers etc. It will be chaos. And the coverage of the sport argument doesn’t even need starting here. Get over it

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  3. Bluestringer

    Subbo is bang on.

    The Society of Idiots needs to have a word with itself.

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