Behind the scenes at biggest show in town
A selection of headlines from Press TV, the Iranian government-backed English-language channel in June , hints at the channel’s approach. A story about tourism numbers was headlined: “Olympic economic hopes go up in smoke“; another reported on “the wave of Islamophobia which the British government has apparently unleashed on Muslims ahead of the 2012 Olympic games”.
Russia Today service will send a team of 15 correspondents and crew for its English, Spanish and Arabic channels.
Tatyana Chistikova, a spokeswoman for the Moscow-based channel, said that as well as covering the sport, they will also report on “how hosting the Olympics has affected life in London; experiences of the fans and the visitors, and what, if any, effect do the Games have on the precarious economic and political mood that has struck the UK and Europe in recent months”.
The Locog chairman, Lord Sebastian Coe, has been on an international charm offensive. Since December, he has travelled to China, Japan, the US, Brazil, Tanzania, Morocco, France, Spain, Sweden, Germany and Russia.
The PR opportunity presented by so many journalists gathered in one place will be grasped more widely, too. Thousands of unaccredited journalists are coming to cover the Games without access to the venues and that presents a huge opportunity for PR executives with a product, a city or a country to promote.
National “hospitality houses” are being set up all over the capital, with African countries coming together in Kensington Gardens, the “Casa Brasil” at Somerset House, Russia Park next to Kensington Palace and the French “Olympic village” at Old Billingsgate Market. The most established is Holland House, sponsored by Heineken, which will be based in Alexandra Palace, north London. The Irish hospitality centre will be based in Big Chill House, a pub at Kings Cross.
ST BRIDE’S church on Fleet Street has allocated beds to cash-strapped journalists in need of a place to rest their heads. The church, which is known as the spiritual home of journalists, is matching bed-less reporters with the congregation’s spare rooms.
More than 10 journalists, including three from Togo, Croatia and Romania, have so far been allocated a bed under the scheme, which is being administered by the London Organising Committee.
At previous Games, reporters who could not afford rooms have camped beneath their desks.
* Guardian Service