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Record number of journalists descend on Birds of Prey

Record number of journalists descend on Birds of Prey{mosimage}As a windy, snowy super G came to a close in Beaver Creek, Colorado, Thursday afternoon, Birds of Prey Chief of Press John Dakin found himself deluged with complaints from journalists about the wireless Internet network set up in a media tent at the base of the racecourse.

It seems the scores of writers, photographers and broadcasters who poured into the media tent after the race to file their reports had completely filled the bandwidth that event organizers had originally thought would satisfy their needs.

Dakin and his crew quickly worked to remedy the problem, bringing in two additional DSL lines into the heated tent perched 8,800 feet above sea level, ensuring that Friday’s downhill results and journalists’ race stories will criss-cross the globe almost as fast as the skiers they cover slide down the hill.

‘As of last night, 275 requests for credentials had been granted’ Dakin said. ‘And that’s just for print and photo and doesn’t even include the crews that are here for television broadcasting. Aside from the World Championships in [19]89 and ’99, this is the largest gathering of media for a World Cup event in Colorado.’

So what fuels media outlets from around the world to send more correspondents to Beaver Creek than it has ever seen? Dakin credits the hype surrounding the 2006 Olympics in Torino Italy.

‘In an Olympic year, this is the only opportunity for the media to have all the men in one place prior to Torino’ Dakin said. ‘There’s also a great deal of excitement behind the Americans – Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, especially – after their performance here last year.’

The Birds of Prey races, in their eighth season, are also popular among the American press because they are the only men’s World Cup races in the United States, Dakin said.

‘We’ve been fortunate to be able to create a legacy in a short time with this course and the great races that have happened here’ he said. ‘Of course, getting to spend a week in Beaver Creek doesn’t hurt popularity as far as the media is concerned, either.’

Dakin estimated that by the time the week is over, he will have approved more than 300 credentials for media outlets around the globe. Even as the super G came to a close, he said he was fielding calls asking for credentials.

‘Often after training or the first race, depending on what’s going on, some press see a story they want and decide that they want to come up and have credentials’ he said.

Can the Birds of Prey chief of press swing credentials for procrastinating journalists in a year where a record number of them have already descended on Beaver Creek?  ‘Only,” Dakin said, “if they are from a really big, important news outlet.”

What do you think?


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