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February 16, 2014

Sochi Main Press Center Busy Hub for Media

by Parke Brewer

The Main Press Center (MPC) for the Sochi Winter Olympics is located next to the main Olympic Park in what is called the Coastal Cluster.
​​The chances are if you have been reading about the Olympics in your local newspaper or on the Internet, much of it originated or was uploaded for distribution from the Main Press Center here.
Mikhail Demin, Press Operations Director of the Sochi Winter Games, says, "Our main goal is to provide technical infrastructure fully prepared for, for working for worldwide information agencies, worldwide newspapers, worldwide TV companies, so that was the main goal. If you like how it looks, that means that it was a successful project."
While it is well known that members of the media had some issues with their hotel rooms as they arrived to cover the Olympics, there has been almost nothing but praise for the Main Press Center, for both its functionality and design.
​​Reporter Charles Belle writes for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, an organization serving 200 community newspapers around the United States. He is covering his 12th Olympics.
He says, "The media center is excellent. They have been very good at assisting you if you have a problem with the Internet, which is the first time that we have had the Internet provided by a sponsor. They did a good job of putting nice photos of old Olympics around the sides at eye level, so you are in good shape if you came here to work and I came here to work, so this is very good."

Besides the huge workroom for the media that operates 24 hours a day during the Olympics, the press center houses a number of small and large rooms for news conferences with athletes and officials.
And since the building is about an hour from downtown Sochi, there are many amenities.  They include a grocery, laundry, a post office, a workout room, souvenir store, and a number of places to eat, even a McDonald's. And there are many friendly, multi-lingual volunteers at the Help Desks. There is also a quiet room with low lighting and padded recliners if you need a short break when working tiring hours.
​​​The Japan Times' Sports Editor Jack Gallagher has been impressed. He says,  "Well, I think it is phenomenal the way it has been organized and all the different elements that are here - the printers, the televisions, the staff. I think it is a pretty amazing setup and very beneficial to all of the people who are using it on a daily basis."
Journalists routinely have commented how convenient it is to be able to walk to all the indoor sporting venues at the adjacent Olympic Park.
Mikhail Demin says after the Olympics, a major conversion is planned for the spacious Main Press Center building. He says,  "I really like this place as a working space. Unfortunately it is being used now for two months and then it will be fully reconstructed. There will be a shopping mall here in this building."
And those fancy news conference rooms with the soft padded chairs where so many reporters asked questions and took notes? They will be reconfigured into movie theaters.