Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Rally - Media access

This year the Automobile Club de Monaco had made a notable effort to manage the huge crowds of spectators attracted to the Monte Carlo Rally. Spectator areas had been well marked out at all the popular public gathering points, but as at other events around the globe, it is the more remote parts of rally route where the 'bravado brigade' gather for their annual bouts of stupidity.

The Club had also created 'photographer pens' at these locations to try and curb the excesses of the more adventurous. This is a more contentious issue. The sport runs the risk of restricting the more artistic and imaginative photographers from capturing the moments that make us all gasp and wonder.

What we don't want - and the sport doesn't need - is a selection of very similar photos from the same location appearing in magazines, newspapers and the more reputable on-line publishing outlets. That's not what rallying is about, and it won't do the future development and promotion of the sport much good either

In this country, the current MSA scheme is far too restrictive and generates additional work for senior Rally route planning Officials and professional photographers. What is needed is a scheme which recognises and addresses the needs of  'official Press photographers' representing 'recognised publications' and separates these from the less experienced photographers and amateur publishing outlets seeking 'official' access.

At least two grades of qualification are needed, with the top grade requiring those on the lower level to qualify. Other major sports have successfully addressed the needs of the 'media' and rallying needs to do so too.

And to make the top grade more appealing and give the lower level an incentive to progress, the top grade guys and guyesses should have a limited, albeit controlled, 'Right to Roam' at rallies. It could be done. 

The inexorable rise of social media has confused the original straightforward definition of 'Press' photographers, but just as spectators have to respect the much needed culture change so do aspiring photographers - and journalists too!

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