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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:40, September 29, 2006
AP chief's plan for 2008 Games reportage
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Thomas Curley, president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press (AP), talked about AP's plan for the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in an interview with China Daily reporter Lei Lei on the sideline of the First Press Briefing on the 2008 Games in Beijing.

Does AP have a plan for the coverage of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Yes. Actually, as a result of these meetings (in Beijing), we will go back and pull together full coverage plan. We are also planning to double the size of our staff in Beijing in advance of the Games but to continue after the Games.

We hope to send 250 people to cover the Games as there are only about 22 people working in Beijing at present.

What will be your focus when covering the Games?

About 40 per cent of the coverage of the Olympic Games will be not just sports. It will be about culture, tourism, restaurants, how people live and what they think about the Games. So we will hopefully be able to cover a lot of the cultural side of life in China, get to know China better, and get to know the Chinese people better and what their hops are. And of course it is a fascinating moment because China is growing so fast. So there will be a lot of stories.

Will AP invest more in the covering of Beijing Games?

Olympic Games is very expensive, but this is the biggest story and the whole world comes to the story. I think there will be even more interest in it than usual in Beijing because not only is it China, but the Chinese have done such a good job in preparing for these Games.

We have been covering China since 1900, for more than a hundred years. We have a long association and we have some very good stories already. One of our correspondents actually spent seven months living with Mao Zedong in the caves in the 1940s. So these are unusual historical perspectives that we have.

These are going to be the biggest Games and that requires more people. Also, to be frank, when the Games are in Asia, you have interesting time zone issues with the US and the Europe. So you need a few extra people to be awake in the middle of night and early in the morning.

What do you think of the preparatory work of BOCOG?

Clearly, Beijing is ahead in every way of any Olympic Games that we have been associated with. Their preparations are further ahead than what we have ever seen. These meetings have proven to be very good. They gave us a very good sense of confidence about what they are and the next round of detail will be coming on a scheduled basis. We know that they have a lot of information they share now and they put it together and communicate in a very easy way. So in every way, we come away feeling relieved and even more hopeful about the Beijing Games.

How do you think of the media policies of BOCOG?

The leadership of BOCOG has stated very clearly that they would fulfill the contract signed when the Games was awarded and that contract provides four aspects for the ability of correspondents to travel. For us, we have to travel to cover the torch relay as it goes around China and so they have been very clear to confirm that. We are very excited about that. That's really what we want.

We want to be able to cover more than the sports. We want to cover how people are living, to go out and talk to the Chinese and see what they think about the Games and to understand China more. So, we understand that these will involve many different authorities; that they will take some conversation to get them through various authorities. So we look forward to the details that BOCOG has been very faithful about and made very clear in the statement. And we are thankful for that.

Do you have any suggestions to BOCOG concerning the media policies?

No, not for BOCOG. I have told the president of BOCOG that our people would be available. Our technical people and our sports people will be available over the next several months if there are questions and if people want to make changes and plans. So that we can work together and we can keep the conversation going because when you are building stadiums and changing things, there will be changes.

We are the largest delegation for print and photos and we make a lot of technical demands, logistical demands for rooms, for photographer positions of the Games. So we want to be able to be helpful.

Source: China Daily

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