NOTEThis post is a continuation of Dave’s post. Read his first for more infoNOTE
I too see the problem we are having, and not just the problem where the media is affecting the game, but where it almost seems that instead of FIRST trying to run an event for the kids, they are running a huge press release for the media. Now, while media coverage is good for FIRST, I think FIRST needs to limit the media, here’s what I suggest…
FIRST Championship Media Proposal
This proposal will fix three things wrong with the current media ‘problem’ at regional and championship events.
Problem: Current media at FIRST events has a total run of a place. They can literally pull over any team to interview them anywhere they want. Television crews can go anywhere they want. FIRST needs to limit their access to make it feel more like an event for the teams and kids than a huge press event.
Large Mike & Camera Booms- Mike and camera booms have caused problems with robots and matches, while they offer good above views, they get too close sometimes and very often the operators want to get right next to the robots for action shots, forgetting that this is a competition and anything can happen. You don’t see camera men and booms floating a few feet away in football games. No, those are far away. The solution for this problem is above, as in a place where nobody goes and nothing is happening, and is far away from the teams. The second floor balcony is far enough away, yet close enough for good shots. Crews could even set up mini booms up there that’ll go out a few feet and could pan and move. This could be used with other stationary cameras near the field to give the illusion of you being in the action without having to risk outside interference. This situation also has an added benefit of being out of the view of the audience so they can see the action.
Interviews- One instance of this is the most memorable, it’s with MOE after one of their matches. Once they won, they were immediately pulled over for a long interview infront of the field, even when matches where going on, preventing some from seeing whats going on. It’s not MOE’s fault, but CNN and the access problems. But on the other hand, TechTV’s interviews were behind the curtain and out of the way, which is a great thing. The solution for this would for this would be to have a ‘robot victory lane’ (we are all winners, remember!) that the press would set up next to. When they wanted an interview, they would pull over a team if they needed to and interview them. This will give everyone the same chance and also push the media to the side so they won’t be infront the of the field. If you want to get really organized, have a media outlet focused on one field each, have CNN on Curie, ABC on Newton, TechTV on Galileo, and so forth and so on.
Press on the ground (or also known as 'The cameras are breeding like rabbits on viagra!)- As noted in other places, the biggest problem is the large amount of press walking around the field, both from teams and from media outlets. At times they block the few, and even worse they inhibit scoring of the game. What is a helpless team going to do?!?! Well, lets go back to kindergarten, when at some schools (at least mine) we used colored carpet to separate groups and locations. There would be three sets of credentials on the play field:
Media pass-for team media and the media. This pass would give access to an area next to the curtain, behind the curtain, and some places behind the player stations with red carpet.
General drive crew access- This allows for access to anywhere except the field.
‘Robo movers’ pass- They would get access to the same as the drive crew pass, but they will have access to the field for removal and placement of the robot before and after matches after scoring is done. There will only be two per team who have this access.
All these recommendations are based on what I’ve seen at the Championship this past April. If FIRST already has programs like this in place, then they weren’t immediately obvious to me while in the stands. Yet this isn’t the only problem. I miss the days when Dean when through all of the pits and talked to teams, I didn’t see any of that this year. I didn’t see the governor of Georgia there, and he is in the same city! Yet at Epcot, Gov Bush was there, and he had a long drive/fly to get there!