The inside scoop
by Antonio Hill, Climate change policy advisor, Oxfam.
Working at the IMC (International Media Center) of the G8 Summit is a bit like being in an hamster wheel: you’re constantly on the go, but you end up where you started. Happily, it’s more interesting. Time flies. You’re up early, and suddenly it’s five PM, you haven’t had lunch, and you have another four hours to go. You’re chasing and sharing information with other NGOs and reporters, analysing and preparing reactions, doing interviews and press briefings, and trying to maintain communications with colleagues both in the IMC and across the world. It’s a bizarre setting, with ninja-like security guards riding Segways,hybrid vehicle test-drives, surreal hotel surroundings and Japanese touches added to the purpose-built, temporary installation that is an international media centre providing for all the needs of 6,000 media representatives working full-on, 24 hours a day.
We get news and information mostly from lots of different sources. The best information comes straight from contacts “on the inside”, officials we know who are willing to share the latest developments about the negotiations and official discussions. They’ll either share bits and pieces via SMS text, a quick phone conversation, or – the most precious of all – a leaked draft text. The rumour mill is always humming, with even the smallest piece of information flying around. In the hours and minutes before hard news breaks, journalists join in the game trying to sniff out from NGOs in the know what’s actually in the imminent release of official documents. The wires also get leaked documents and report “unconfirmed” news. Finally, agreed documents are released, and officials give press conferences to spin their interpretations.
I was asked to write a bit about what next. Someday, I’d like to swim with dolphins. For now, I have to check-in on-line for my flight home, eat, check for “can’t wait” e-mails, write-down media contacts and interviews from the past few days, and think-up some key points for our team evaluation tomorrow – and about a gift for my Mum’s up-coming birthday. Or just go to bed!!!