When it comes to major events, AAP leaves nothing to chance. We speak our Special Events Editor, Holly Nott about what it takes to plan, prepare and deliver incredibly comprehensive sports content under, what are sometimes challenging circumstances.
Our dedicated Planning Team works weeks, months and even years ahead of the news cycle to ensure AAP’s clients receive comprehensive, incisive and engaging major event coverage that is timed to perfection - without compromising AAP’s never-ending news coverage.
What does the role of Special Events Editor entail?
The Special Events Editor has responsibility for AAP’s coverage of complicated and/or large-scale events. It means working with colleagues on the Planning Team and elsewhere within the company, as well as clients and other external stakeholders, to determine all aspects of the coverage AAP needs to produce, and then drilling down into the detail of making sure that happens. The planning can span years, and when the event finally rolls around, if AAP has a multi-disciplinary team attending, the Special Events Editor will be on-site for the duration, acting as the editor and chief trouble-shooter. I also dive into a lot of internal projects, so day-to-day the role is quite varied.
"Just getting staff where you need them can be extremely tricky at times. Bureaucratic delays, accreditation problems, visa issues, flight cancellations and delays, lost luggage and non-existent transfers are some common problems - but no-one reading our coverage, or admiring our images of the event, would know!"
Covering an Olympics, or the FIFA World Cup, is a huge undertaking - where do you start?
Planning for a major event usually begins right after the previous installment finishes - with a debrief on our coverage to assess what can be improved. The active planning gets shelved for a while after that, but every major event has some kind of press extranet where organisers communicate with media, so requesting access to that is always one of the first things I do. Then about three years out from the event we start engaging more frequently with the organising committee. They have rolling deadlines for things like accreditation, accommodation and the rate card (where you order the infrastructure and equipment you require), so we really get into the details of our needs in anticipation of those deadlines.
What is the trickiest element to plan?
Just getting staff where you need them can be extremely tricky at times. Bureaucratic delays, accreditation problems, visa issues, flight cancellations and delays, lost luggage and non-existent transfers are some common problems - but no-one reading our coverage, or admiring our images of the event, would know! We can’t allow logistical issues to compromise our coverage.
It’s such a long planning cycle for some of these events, so how do you anticipate what your clients will need four years down the track?
We are very good at change at AAP! We are always evolving, and so is our coverage - so it’s nothing for us to make adjustments in response to client feedback, or technological advances, or emerging media trends. It’s a key part of the Special Events Editor’s role. We are probably pretty unique in that we are regularly talking to all the major players in the Australian media landscape and our international counterparts like Associated Press. We also look for opportunities to offer something unique - stay tuned for more info on how we are working with Nikon to bring some amazing new technology to the Australian Open and the Commonwealth Games.
What happens when the planning phase ends, and it’s time to deliver?
In many ways, delivering the coverage is the simplest part of the process thanks to all the careful planning that comes before. For most events, my involvement really fades out once things are underway unless there are problems to resolve. However, for the Summer Olympics and Commonwealth Games, we typically take about 30 people on assignment, and I travel ahead of the team with a couple of our excellent techs to check the arrangements are as expected and iron out any set-up issues (...and there are always issues!). When the competition begins, that’s when we are really in our element! AAP staff are so good at what they do - it’s a real pleasure to be surrounded by people who are at the top of their game, at the Games!
2018: YEAR OF SPORT
With a strong focus on Australian athletes, AAP's experienced team of reporters, photographer, videographers and graphic artists will cover the excitement and drama from the Winter Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, FIFA and the Rugby World Cup Sevens.