SEARCH 2000 Games

Wednesday, September 27, 2000
It's about treatin' the media right

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

 SYDNEY - Have Press Room, Will Travel.

 Jayne Pearce is her name.

 And media is her game.

 If this is 2000 this must be Sydney.

 If it's 2001 it must be Edmonton.

 Why would the press chief of athletics in Sydney finish up here where summer is just starting and head to Canada in the middle of winter to do one of the most difficult behind-the-scenes jobs in sport all over again on such short notice?


 "Because I know the people there and I know that they are media savvy and because they believe it's important getting the media right. It's the same reason I took the job here.

 "The organizers in Sydney believe if you treat the media well, if they are served well and able to do their jobs with a minimum of frustration, they'll deliver a positive message to the world about Sydney and Australia.

 "The people in Edmonton believe it's important to have that message delivered about Edmonton and Canada. It is, after all, one of the reasons you bid for high-profile world events in the first place. Sometimes that gets forgotten along the way.''

 Edmonton 2001 asked the IAAF who was the best in the business and went out and hired her.

 "I took the job in Sydney because of the appeal of running a press setup that worked,'' she said.

 Atlanta's didn't.

 "The appeal was to try to make things right,'' she said. "It's important that this works.

 "The appeal of Edmonton, to be quite honest, is that it completes my portfolio.

 "I very much like the people I'll be working with there.

 '`The people in Edmonton have the same goals and objectives as the people here.''

 People aren't much interested in behind-the-scenes media operations. But it's very visible in track and field.

 Why can't you buy tickets on the finish-line side of the track in the lower bowl of Commonwealth Stadium?

 Because that's where we sit. We have tables and television sets and it's an amazing setup. And the difference between the setup at the Olympics and the Worlds isn't that dramatic.

 "In Sydney we have 910 tabled press seats and in Edmonton it will be 800,'' said the 37-year-old native of Birmingham, England.

 The size of the press room is about 40,000 square feet for both events.

 Then there are the camera positions.

 There's a virtual Christmas tree of photographers who shoot the finish line.


 Pearce has looked at the fit and believes everything will be there to make it a success.

 "The media centre is going to be a brand-new building right behind the press tribune,'' she said of the tabled seating.

 The interview room will be a temporary tented structure near where the tennis courts are currently located.

 The mixed zone, where media people have access to athletes immediately after their events, will be located on the ramp on the south-east side of the stadium.

 "Making the mixed zone work will be my biggest challenge,'' she said.
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