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Why cover the Olympics?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SockPuppet, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    Newspapers that I'm familiar with have eliminated much of their staffed national coverage to focus on local teams. Space, staff and budgets have been slashed.

    Yet I've noticed that the same papers have sent 2 or more staffers to cover the Olympics. Early on the coverage is focused on local angles but this seems to go against the "we have to cut back" philosophy.
  2. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Every major metropolitan newspaper has at least a few local athletes in the Olympics. Some won't get any coverage from AP or other wire services.
  3. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    If I had the staff size and budget, I would have done it. Lots of casual to non-sports fans perk up during the Olympics. The stuff we've posted thus far is getting good traffic. Yeah, it's wire and available to all papers. I'd still love to have someone there.
  4. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    I look at the audience for the opening ceremonies... what was it, NBC's highest ever? And it got a 40 share... on a Friday night... during summer.

    Yeah, I'd say the interest is there.
  5. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    That's the best argument I've heard in favor of staffing anything. Can you get the coverage any other way?
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's a leap. I look at that point the same way I look at the Super Bowl. How many people watch the Super Bowl, and yet how many people actually read coverage of it?

    If the interest is there in your local athletes, it's justifiable. But, I'm sorry, I think very few people read exhaustive coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, and yet everyone seems to write it. The trouble is the people at home have a better view than the reporters in the stadium.

    One reason papers send people to the Olympics is that the people are legacy people who have always gone to the Olympics and they start pushing the hell out of it two years in advance like it's the most important thing in the sports world.
  7. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Well, in the grand scheme of the sports world, the Olympics still draw the viewers. If you're measuring in terms of potential eyeballs it could bring to your website/paper, it sounds like it still gets the job done.
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I agree with this entirely. steveu, your point doesn't make sense because AP copy would draw the same readers for the most part. The only good reason for a metro newspaper that's outside, say, the top 20 to send someone to the Olympics is to cover popular local Olympians.

    LongTimeListener's point translates to All-Star games and even championship rounds. If you have no local ties, are your reporters and columnists really going to write something the wires won't have? And if they will, is it going to be good enough to justify the expense? In most cases, no.

    I think it's much more valuable to have a beat reporter travel to every road game of the NHL season than to send an armada to the Olympics for coverage of the biggest events that you could get on the wires anyway.
  9. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'd be very interested to see newspaper numbers that prove that. It sounds like an old-world guess we used to make that may or may not hold up to scrutiny.

    And I would add that with the existence of NBC's website and news stories posted on every event, the local newspaper -- which is not encyclopedic -- has fallen well down the pecking order.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Also: Whatever readership blip you might get has to be scaled against the cost of the trip, which is enormous.
  11. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This will sound very unscientific, but I think the Olympics get covered by many papers/reporters who wouldn't ordinarily, in a million years, cover something of this scope or in such a faraway location because, well...it is a dream assignment and penultimate event for most any sports writer.

    If a paper can afford to do it, at all, and if it decides to do it, at all, it happens just because the reporters/editors want to do it, and yes, they push for it.

    It is one of those events that makes you/your paper look big-time/legitimate, and makes you "seen," perception-wise, and the Olympics offer an opportunity to take advantage of that.
  12. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    All the points are valid. But AP won't know the background story. AP's there to write about the big picture. YOUR reporters... YOUR local papers... know the story and can provide deeper coverage.

    Does it sell more papers in the end? Probably not. Call me old-school? Probably. I'd rather see a news outlet make a try to cover something besides the same old.
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