Know Before You Go: 4 Tips For Journalists Covering a Major Event

tips for covering a major event

The Summer Games are about to wrap.

The Olympics in Rio de Janeiro have drawn more than 11,000 athletes from 205 countries. The final event count: 300-plus.

Congrats if you’re among the lucky ones covering the Games. This is a complex event — from Zika to safety concerns — and it can be both amazing and frustrating.

So if you’re covering a major event like this in the future, here are some pointers to keep in mind.

Stay on Top of Those Credentials

This seems like a no-brainer, but pay attention to the credentials deadlines. Most applications must be turned in months in advance. It’s not an ideal situation if you’re a procrastinator.

Applications for press credentials for Super Bowl 50, which took place Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif., needed to be in by Nov. 16, 2015. If your local team has even a remote chance of making it to the Super Bowl, get those credentials in.

For the Olympics, the application process for credentials started more than two years ago. If you’re thinking about attending the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, credentials should be top of mind right now.

It’s not just sporting events that have tight credential timelines. Awards shows, for example, have similar formalities.

If you’re hoping to cover this year’s Academy Awards, the deadline is fast approaching. For the 2016 event, which was on Feb. 28, you needed to have credentials in by Nov. 16, 2015.

Know Before You Go

If you are traveling to an unfamiliar city, you should research transportation.

Would it be better to drive or rent a car? What’s the easiest way to get to the event? Are certain streets blocked off or with limited access? How close to the event will you be able to park? What time do they lock the doors in the parking garage? (This may seem like a minor issue, but I know from personal experience that this can lead to a very long night.)

If you’re going to be in town for several days, find creative ways to spend your time. Be a tourist and see what the city or location has to offer. There might be activities that members of the media can take part in during some down time.

Being on Time is Probably Too Late

Whether it’s a sporting event, entertainment-related event or something political, security is going to be intense.

Not only will it be difficult to get to your location, but you probably will have to pass through several security checks. Keep in mind that the larger the event, the more extensive the checks are going to be.

According to NBC News, the NFL hired more than 4,000 private security professionals and worked with more than 60 agencies to help support security for Super Bowl 50. If you attended the game, you also probably dealt with bomb-sniffing dogs, X-ray machines, and cameras on every corner.

It’s easy to see why getting to the event with time to spare not only is a good idea, it’s a necessity.

Enjoy the Atmosphere

If you found your way to the venue, made it through security, and found your seat — it’s time to relax. The hard part is now over.

Now, it’s about covering the event. Take some time to enjoy what you are seeing. It’s not every day you get a chance to cover a major event like this.

One of my fondest memories covering a major event was walking onto the field, during No 1. Ohio State’s 42-39 victory over rival No. 2 Michigan in 2006 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

You could feel the electricity in the air. It’s something that still gives me goosebumps today.

Are you covering a major event? We can create a customized PR Newswire newsfeed for you on the topic. It’s easy. Sign up at PR Newswire for Journalists today, or email us to hook you up.

Joshua Hudson is a Senior Customer Content Specialist at PRNewswire. Formerly he was a sports reporter and editor.

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