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You and the Olympics

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by AMacIsaac, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. AMacIsaac

    AMacIsaac Guest

    The changing face of sports media and/or indicative of the economic status?


    Suffering from the one-two punch of declining ad dollars and an evolving media landscape, newspapers plan to send fewer reporters to the Vancouver Olympics than to any recent Winter Games.

    The U.S. Olympic Committee, which issued 481 credentials to publications and Web sites for the event, has had 135 credentials returned this year. More than 90 percent of the credentials were returned by newspapers and traditional publications like Newsweek, which returned five of six credentials; The Dallas Morning News, which returned four of six; and the McClatchy chain, which returned seven credentials and kept four.

    All of the returned credentials were redistributed to publications seeking more credentials. More than 70 percent of the total returned were given to online news sites.

    “I don’t know whether this is a spike or the way things will be for the future, but this is extremely unusual to get this many back,” said Bob Condron, the USOC’s director of media services. “The interest is there, no doubt, but the money is not.”

    Digital media is taking up a larger chunk of credentials for the Vancouver Games than any previous Olympics. Yahoo!, which had one credential for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, will have 21 this year; AOL, which had one in 2006, will have five; and ESPN.com, which had no credentials last time, will have seven.

    Yahoo! Sports Executive Editor Dave Morgan said the news organization had eight employees on the ground in Turin, but many bought tickets to events in order to cover them because credentials were unavailable.

    “This doesn’t really mark a huge addition to our investment in covering the Olympics, but it does formalize our coverage and will allow us to do different things like on-the-ground blogs,” Morgan said.

    Yahoo! will be filling a void in coverage left by a number of newspapers that plan to send fewer reporters and a host of other newspapers that plan to skip the Vancouver Games altogether.

    The Dallas Morning News, which sent nine employees to Turin, plans to send just two to Vancouver, and The Washington Post, which had 10 employees on the ground in Italy during the 2006 Games, plans to send just three to Vancouver.

    Post Sports Editor Matthew Vita said the decision to reduce the number of employees covering the 2010 Games was driven by strategic and economic concerns. He cited the cost of sending staff to the event and the challenge of covering an event with so many competitions slated to take place in prime time.

    “I don’t look at this as a permanent change,” Vita said. “We may never get back to 10, 11 or 14 people at an Olympics, but we’re committed to covering the Olympics, and we take them one at a time.”

    Other newspapers that have covered previous Winter Olympics, like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette and The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, don’t plan to send any reporters to Vancouver.

    “Mainly, it’s the economy,” said Roy Hewitt, sports editor at The Plain Dealer and the chairman of the USOC’s Olympic accreditation committee.

    Instead of covering the event on site, Hewitt and his team will cover it from their Cleveland sports desk. Other papers are expected to do the same.

    “There was a time when information was only available at the Olympics,” Hewitt said. “You had to get it on the printed page at the USOC headquarters after events, but now it’s available online.”

    The USOC also plans to supplement coverage by absentee newspapers with what it calls a “Hometown News Bureau” in Vancouver. The bureau, which will be staffed by USOC press officials, will feed information on hometown athletes to newspapers that request it. Press officials also will hand athletes cell phones as they move through the media circuit after competitions, so that they can speak to reporters from their hometown who aren’t attending the Games.

    “There’s still nothing like having someone on the site, and most people realize that, but with the economy there’s no choice,” Condron said. “It’s hit the newspaper business really hard.”
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Active Member

    Television? Check.

    Couch? Check.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I'm a little surprised that Colorado Springs, home of the USOC, is not sending anyone.

    Otherwise, given the economic state of the newspaper industry and the general ambivalence to the Winter Games in the US, I'm not at all surprised by the cutbacks.
  4. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Me, too, though the Gazette just hacked off seven from the newsroom this past Friday. Still, not even one? It's not like this is Pyeongchang.

    In 2002, there were at least six in Salt Lake City from Miami. This time? Maybe one? None?

    I wonder how many Seattle and Portland will be sending.
  5. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Outside of the Nationalistic impact of the Olympics, who gives a shit? The most popular winter sports are hockey and figure skating, and only one of them draws any significant amount of coverage otherwise. Just because we're told the Olympics are a big deal doesn't make it so anymore. I can't imagine readers are craving coverage of sports like speed skating, curling, alpine skiing, etc. Almost no one ever covers the X-Games, which also has events like snow boarding and snowboard on half-pipes and such. So why start now, for just a few weeks? There's no audience, and why force one to think about it when you'll just abandon it for four years? Outside of the names and sports that segments of the public knows, most of the coverage doesn't need to be much more beyond agate, with the compelling features that are available out there excepted.
  6. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    Surprised McClatchy is just using four - they've got one paper about an hour south of Vancouver.
    And to read that online sites are taking up the returns makes me wonder how serious papers really are about their websites.
    But then again, even with an Olympics about as close to the U.S. without being in the U.S. the hype for these games seems miniscule. I couldn't tell you who the top U.S. figure skater is, who is the best hope on the slopes is or whether our hockey team has a shot.
    Too bad - because Vancouver should be an excellent host city.
  7. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Doesn't matter — we'll cheer the red, white & blue laundry no matter who, while NBC gives us cavities with their features.
  8. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    You sure NBC won't want the IOC to add ice beach volleyball?
  9. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I'm sure the court will be lit with headlights. (Damn, I figured out the joke!)
  10. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Precisely. The Olympics with its quasi-nationalism and faux amateurism is the most overrated sporting event in the history of humankind. And its organizers' collective sense of self-importance is off the charts.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    What is this about the last Olympics being held in Turin? I thought it was Torino?
  12. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    Faux amateurism? What is this, 1984? Are you going to bitch about the Big East's six-foul rule next?
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