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Local papers given access to nationals’ Olympic photos

Local newspapers have been granted access to Olympic photos taken by national press photographers as part of a unique partnership set up for London 2012.

The National Olympic Photo Pool was created ahead of the Games so that images taken by more than 50 photographers at Olympic venues are transmitted within minutes to a single distribution point.

They can then be accessed by the regional press at the same time as the editors of national papers receive them.

The Newspaper Society has reached an agreement that local newspapers which are members of the NS can access up to five images a day free of charge, with a small charge for anything further from the hub, which is powered by OpenText.

It was set up as a result of an initiative by the International Olympic Committee which was keen to see the photos of the national newspapers being made more widely available and this was offer was taken up by the members of the Newspaper Publishers Association.

Planning for the photo pool started more than a year ago by Andrew Moger, an independent consultant to the NPA and former picture editor of The Times, and Mike Sharp, group development executive at Trinity Mirror.

Andrew said: “We’re delighted to be working with OpenText to bring our vision to life, making British sports photography more accessible to the national and local press during the Olympics Games.

“By providing photographers with one central hub of high quality photographs we can really showcase the best in British sporting photography.

“It also allows those publications that are part of the scheme across the UK – large or small – with an opportunity to access photography to help support their Olympic coverage efforts, making sports more accessible to a new generation of journalists and readers.

“No blueprint existed for the practical aspects of distributing photography on this collaborative basis on an industrial scale. We therefore needed to find a technology partner with a proven track record and a system which can suit the demands of instant publishing of the national newspapers.”

More than 700 images were distributed by the photo pool during the Olympic Opening Ceremony and each day about 600 photographs go through OpenText’s content hub for publishers.

A long-running row over access to the Olympics saw 39 press passes handed out to local and regional newspapers after lobbying by the Newspaper Society, which agreed a deal that the successful applicants will share copy with the rest of the industry.