When journalists, film crews and photographers have made the effort to travel to report on a conference, exhibition, business, arts or sports event, it’s obviously good PR and media relations to help them to make the most of their visit. The organisers and their PR team want them to write and leave with a positive mindset about the experience, keen to return next year. The facilities and service that the press centre provides can play a vital role in this.
The essential elements for the PR team are to make it easy for the media to do their job; to provide facilities and access for them to source the news, information, interviews and pictures they want, to write and publish them and communicate with their offices.
Here is the Clareville PR team’s advice and checklist of how to plan and run a press centre at an event. It’s based on 30 years of experience managing press centres at major events around the world for many business conferences and exhibitions as well as international sports events where there were hundreds of journalists, photographers, broadcasters and film crew.
Press centre location
It should ideally be located close to and easily accessible to the main arena. At some exhibitions, it is located on the show floor. This is ideal but if space or facilities are limited in such a position it may often be better to be in an adjacent office area very nearby.
A well-equipped press centre should have
• Desk space for however many journalists will be in the centre at its peak usage time, with accessible power points and both
cable internet and wifi
• Fast reliable internet access with the capacity to cope with multiple large file uploads
• Information sources – fast efficient access to valuable news, data and quotes, both in print and online, background
information and the answers to any FAQs such as times of special events, passwords etc
• Helpful, professional staff who can provide all the answers or, if not, quickly find someone who does
• Interview space – a quiet private area away from the desk areas suitable for one-to-one interviews
• An area available for photography and filming interviews with ‘step and repeat’ branding boards
• Storage area for film equipment, cameras, bags – at the owner’s risk
• Unlimited tea, coffee and water whenever the press centre is open.
Ultimately, the most important factor to consider is that the press centre is a service facility for the media – and that a good service is good PR.