Reflections on the TCS New York City Media Center, by Carolyn Mather, for Racing South

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CEO-NYC15.JPGNYRR Co Prez Michael Capiraiso finishing Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

I asked Carolyn Mather, a long time columnist for Racing South and Running Journal, to write up her thoughts on the NYRR Media Center.

I reposted this on April 14, 2016, as NYC and Boston have two of the finest media set ups in marathon world ( I give London as best on global scale). Carolyn Mather is one of my favorite writers and this piece deserves a good read.


REFLECTIONS ON THE TCS NEW YORK CITY MEDIA CENTER

Over the past thirty plus years, I have had some involvement with the New York City Marathon, either covering or running the race. For the past decade plus, I have had the honor of helping with the lead press vehicles for the professional ladies. I never fail to continue to gain respect for the New York Road Runners as each year they try to up the game and make the race new and exciting.

This year a two story pavilion was erected before the race for all of the lead up activities. Dominating the area near the finish, the pavilion was a celebratory hub for all visitors to the TCS New York City Marathon. The second story was the improvement with the Media Center at the NYRR pavillion.

Having moved over the years from the Jewish Women's Center, to the Hilton, to the New York Athletic Club to Tavern on the Green, to the Mandarin Oriental, the press has experienced a sample of much of New York City. Last year the press center was in the Jacob Javits Center which was very busy but not the most convenient venue to Central Park. The Javits Center is not on the road most traveled and was hard to access and then negotiate as the huge marathon expo is held there.

The all-new TCS New York City Marathon Pavilion actually provided the press with a view of the finish line from the second story windows. Entering the facility was daunting as security was quite tight for getting to the second floor. Yet, the new space was incredibly beautiful and light beamed into the pavilion except for the first rain soaked day.

Being adjacent to Tavern on the Green, it was located in a very convenient space. As contrasted to the year before, the media did not have to battle the throngs of expo visitors and we had a space basically filled with press folks.

It is difficult to imagine how this huge structure was put up in two weeks and was nearly down the Tuesday after the marathon. There was a 15'by 50' digital screen on the main floor which which had engaging content and and a variety of short films. But, the audio feed did not come to the press room so I found myself going up and down to listen to talks and videos.

Of course I immediately ran into a problem in the media center, as in contrast to previous years , there were no general use computers for the press. I forget that, in this technologically obsessed world one must have a computer with them at all times. I must admit this is the first time I have encountered this glitch, so I was not able to get an article done on my first day. Thankfully I had my trusty netbook with me, but apparently it did not like the wifi connection in the pavilion so I struggled getting my articles done.You cannot expect a gal from rural north Georgia to become a city slicker in a week.


At the Javits Center the previous year we had to contend with crowds and noise bleeding into the interview area. Unfortunately, that was a bit of a concern this year as the activities on the main floor which the media center overlooked, once again filtered into the interview area.

But it was more crowd noise rather than the presentations. Thankfully, there were not too many big presentations in the media area so it was not a problem. I must admit that there was some confusion as to what presentations would be held in the public downstairs area and which were held upstairs. So to take part in the short films or various talks we had to go into the downstairs area.


Marathon week this year was incredibly sunny and unusually warm. With all the windows on the second floor and with very little ventilation, the media center became quite warm. I am certain it was a good ten degrees cooler downstairs. I suspect this problem can be fixed for next year when we will most likely have cold weather!


Overall, the space was large enough for the press and the lounge area was well done with lots of tables and chairs for press to congregate and visit. That was definitely not the case at the Javits Center.

Separating the lounge area from the working area made it much easier for everyone to get their jobs done.

In general, the staff of the New York Road Runners did all they could to accommodate the press and meet their needs. Although it seemed that credentials were much more difficult to secure this year, most everyone was issued day passes so it was not that big of a deal. The security staff and the catering staff were extremely caring and went the extra mile to be sure everyone had what they needed. That was not the case in the previous years.


The most intriguing portion of the week in the press center was Marathon Monday. Getting into the press center through the throngs of marathon shoppers was a true test but being able to watch thousands of people buying marathon memorabilia was a sight to behold. It looked like Filene's Basement on dollar dress day. What a spectacle the marathoners created!

I know most people were not happy with the Javits Center as press headquarters but the reimagined space created by the NYRR was a new venture and I believe it was a success. It may require some fine tuning, but it is a tribute to the NYRR that they can think outside the box and create a multi-use facility for the TCS New York City Marathon. It was an incredible undertaking that could only be done in New York City.

Everyone who entered was enthralled.

Kudos to the New York Road Runners and the Central Park Conservancy for going where no race has gone before!!

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