‘BoniBlog – Games Open Tomorrow

Sports Media Canada’s John Iaboni is working out of the AIPS office to assist media at the Vancouver Games. His ‘BoniBlog will appear here frequently during the epic event.

John Iaboni working in the AIPS office at the Games

It sits majestically on Burrard Inlet as part of Vancouver’s urban waterfront. The backdrop features a gorgeous range of mountains topped by snowy peaks. Looking out from the waterfront dock to the mountains on Vancouver’s north side one is captivated when rain clouds produce a dramatic misty cover over the hills.
This is the main media centre for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It is called Canada Place where the East Building is the Main Press Centre, home to 2,800 accredited members of the written and photographic press. The West Building is the International Broadcast Centre where 7,000 accredited broadcasters and technicians have taken up residence.
The five white sails comprising the roof at Canada Place resemble an ocean liner under full sail. This is a Canadian landmark that now is the symbol for the global media. The MPC workspace is spread over two floors – the upper level Convention Hall with its view of Burrard Inlet and the lower level Cruise Ship Terminal that is devoid of the scenics above but just as equipped to permit the written and photographic press to meet the enormous demands worldwide. It is on this level that AIPS has its office, at the ready to serve its membership.
With the Games about to begin these days are dress rehearsal mode … familiarization with the enormous facility and the work spaces, ensuring that what was ordered and requested in advance of these games has been installed and, most importantly, is functional as the “advance” stories and photos are generated.
“It’s fantastic,” said Jack Zhou, director/senior editor of the Xinhua News Agency, represented here by a crew of 36. “All the members in the MPC worked very hard to meet the requirements of the media from around the world.
“When we first we came here, I noticed that the common work room (on the Convention Level) is very amazing. It’s quite nice, especially the light, the table, the computers, everything is fine. As for our private offices, they are working hard to meet our request, meet our requirements.”
Zhou has covered every Olympics since the Barcelona Games in 1992 and he’s witnessed a constant evolution in efforts to improve working facilities for press and photographers.
“This is similar to Beijing and Torino because of the IOC’s transfer of knowledge,” Zhou said. “When I came here I was quite familiar with the facilities just because they are following the guidelines set by the IOC”.
AIPS President Gianni Merlo said he was very happy with the standard of the Vancouver MPC. “The facilities for both journalists and photographers are very good and provide a perfect environment in which to work.”
There are some issues that require some understanding.
Makoto Hashimoto, a writer for Jiji Press, notes that the massive space of this facility makes it “too far to walk to the office.”
“Yes, there is a lot of walking and if they had some more directions (signage) that would be so much better, especially for the private offices downstairs,” Zhou agreed. He laughed when it was suggested that the walk might not be all that bad for members of the press and photographic corps.
“That’s right, very good exercise,” he said.
Some bemoaned the food selection at the MPC when compared most recently to Beijing. But food courts outside the facility in the waterfront area offer a solution.
Overall, the consensus is well above a passing grade for the MPC.
“Yes, thumb’s up, it’s good,” Zhou added. “The MPC is standing above the sea and so we have very good scenery, nice. If we had a door (to the scenery) it would be much better for our private offices.”
A long walk one flight of stairs up offers the view, complete with outdoor dock and patio.
“We’ve never had a view like this,” said Terry Jones from the Edmonton Sun, former Sports Media Canada Outstanding Sportswriting Award recipient, at his 16th Olympics and asked for what struck him about this MPC.
As breathtaking as it is, the best lasting impression the Vancouver MPC could ever make is to come through when it counts most – from Opening to Closing Ceremonies and especially all the competitions in between.