These days we find that more and more sporting organisations and events struggle with accreditation to a greater or a lesser extent. Who should we accredit? Who are genuine journalists? What defines a freelance? What defines a professional? Who will get us the maximum coverage for our sport and our event? How do we allocate our scarce space most effectively? Demand for accreditation often far outstrips supply and the criteria for accepting and allocating accreditation is inconsistent.
In response to these concerns, and with the support of Pearce International, the Sports Journalists’ Association and UK Sport hosted an accreditation seminar this week. Jayne was asked to moderate this much anticipated event, to challenge some industry speakers and help take a fresh look at the problems facing professional sports media today. The participants were a diverse mix of around 50 representatives of major annual sporting events in the UK, an array of national governing bodies of sport and organisers of the major events coming up this year.
Jayne invited UEFA to send a guest speaker who shared how it is tackling registering, ratifying and processing applications from media. Over the last four years they have cut their accreditation list from over 12000 to just over 4000, weeding out the inactive and ensuring that their current list is vibrant and has a wide reach.
Photographers in particular have very often lacked a voice in policy making, or indeed in any aspect of major sports organisation. We have always been vocal advocates for professional sports photographers, with a great respect for their profession, and a determination to make sure that their voices are heard. This seminar listened to that voice. The majority of major agencies were represented and their single aim was summed up by Tom Jenkins (The Guardian and committee member of the SJA) who said: “All we want is the best photographers in the best positions able to produce the best photographs”.
We hear you, Tom. Now let’s see some real change.