Following up on our Open Letter to VANOC, here’s a quick re-cap of observations and experiences at the Worldwide Press Briefing and the Olympic Resistance Network press conference, November, (Thursday) 20, 2008.
Kris Krug and I went to Canada Place and were rejected entry to the VANOC worldwide press briefing event. We had hoped use our experience crowd-covering previous Olympic Games to discuss how social media can enhance the accredited media’s coverage and also provide deep documentary into the fan experience and lesser-known athlete’s stories.
Alas, we were asked (demanded) to leave and watched over by a handful of Vancouver Police Officers apparently because Canada Place is private property. Outside we chatted about the issues of openness, and homelessness with media and protesters.
In the afternoon, we attended the Olympic Resistance Movement press conference at the Anti-poverty Committee’s headquarters where several native Elders expressed their concerns about the games impact on environment and culture and a lawyer from Pivot Legal Society discussed the broken promises about displacement, housing and security and a gentleman from the Work Less party broke down the Millennium construction loan guarantee boondoggle.
Names and details and audio coverage to follow.
I don’t have to tell you that the 2010 Winter Olympics are coming to Vancouver, because we’ve been hearing about it regularly for the last few years. But who gets to tell the story? Raincity Studios folk and local mavens of social media Dave Olson and Kris Krug wrote the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee (VANOC) for permission to attend today’s Worldwide Press Briefing, but received no response. About 200 representatives of various international press organizations have come to the city to be briefed on press services and facilities, and to tour Olympic venues. Unlike many Vancouverites that were outside the event in the rain protesting the Olympics, Olson and Krug had intentions of journalism, not protest. Between them and Raincity CEO Robert Scales, they’ve unofficially covered the last four Olympic games, in addition to Olson’s blogging and podcasting of Canucks hockey. Krug posted to Twitter as they tried to get in:
Got stopped at the door. “if you guys are here to protest pls go accross the street”. Now they’re checkin our credentials.We were just escorted from the building. We had better access, even a welcome in Beijing and Torino.
@todmaffin agreed they can’t make us go home. but we’re not here to protest in the rain, we’re here as jounalists.
Unfortunate to see this outcome, but not surprising. VANOC has seemingly been given whatever power and money necessary to shoehorn this elephant of an event into Vancouver. This includes suggesting that business close during the Olympics, and trademarking phrases of our national anthem. Recent elections have proved the power of online media in getting stories out whether mainstream media gets around to it or not. The online conversation about the Olympics happens regardless of VANOC’s approval. It becomes their choice to be a part of it, or alienate it.