It’s a Human Thing

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 8, 2004 – A longtime friend from the press operations department organizing committee of the 1984 Olympic Games recently had the opportunity to review the plans for the Main Press Center of one of the bid cities for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Everything was there.

Information kiosks, television lounges, filing areas, private offices, food service, interview rooms and much more. They were arranged strangely, but all the pieces were present.

My friend asked why certain functions were placed where they were. The response: “We know what’s supposed to be in here, but we have no idea how it works.”

That’s an all-too-familiar refrain.

Especially at major events like the Olympic Games, where there are previous editions to study, architects, interior designers and technology specialists are able to determine what needs to be included in any major venue such as the press center.

But making these pieces work together requires someone – a person who knows how to manage the area and make it work for the publics to be served.

For the press, access to information is primary, so results need to be easy to obtain. Restaurants require late hours, so they should be separate from filing areas, which need to remain quiet. There needs to be more than one interview room to facilitate briefings by smaller groups meeting only their national press corps. And so on.

This “human touch” is all too often left out of the equation by organizing committees relying on reports and studies to guide their efforts. There is no excuse for not using experienced people and/or firms which understand the basic requirement of any service function is to serve the needs of the target group.

We were fortunate to be able to offer such services to the organizing committee of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and the resulting press operations support program was of high quality for the press, radio and television representatives who attended.

Then again, we provided the same support for the Atlanta organizers in 1996 and our 307-page report on press operations submitted in 1992 was used for a doorstop. It’s that human thing again. Oh well; better luck next time, Atlanta . . . if there is a next time.
~ Rich Perelman

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