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Reuters editor: Olympics media rules are outdated

Reuters editor: Olympics media rules are outdated

The International Olympic Committee’s reluctant acceptance of bloggers and social media’s participation in sharing information from the Olympic Games has been challenged by Reuters’ editor-in chief David Schlesinger.

Speaking to the International Olympics Committee Press Commission, he said that it was now not possible to control how established and new media disseminated information.

“The old means of control don’t work. The old categories don’t work. The old ways of thinking don’t work. We need to come to terms with that,” he said.

“Fundamentally, the old media won’t control news dissemination in the future. And organisations can’t control access using old forms of accreditation any more.”

The IOC does not regard blogging as a form of journalism, but rather as a “legitimate form of personal expression”, and although bloggers are tolerated, Schlesinger was asked by the IOC to remove one of his own blog posts because it included a photo and he was only accredited to use text.

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He suggested that by the 2012 London Olympics, citizen reporting would eclipse traditional for getting news out immediately it happened: “”Twitterers sitting in the stadium banging out the result in a Tweet from their mobile phone”.

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He said that officials needed to work with the tech and publishing-savvy public, not against them. “Could you imagine gun-toting guards trying to confiscate every phone off every spectator? That would become the story of the Games and it would ultimately fail.”

We’ve seen how the reporting of news and collation of eyewitness accounts has changed dramatically over the past few years — you only have to look at Iranian protesters’ use of Twitter to see that. Trying to control how the public share information is near-impossible, and the IOC is just one organisation that needs to work out how it can avoid alienating an increasingly powerful force… US.

(Via Press Gazette)

View Comments (3)
  • Reuters’ editor-in chief David Schlesinger doesn’t understand that it’s not that the IOC doesn’t want to embrace social media … they can’t.

    More accurately, like many companies, they can’t figure out how to monetize, and more importantly have it undermine their business model.

    The IOC business model does not allow for free expression, and in order to understand this clearly you first have to understand that the IOC needs local Olympic organizing committees to align with local mainstream news media in order to convince a disenfranchised public to sign up to become VOLUNTEERS for an event that for the last four Host cities has been an economic disaster.

    Salt Lake City 2002 reported a deficit of $1.2 billion, Athens 2004 $12 billion, Turin 2006 is still counting, Beijing 2008 was a $40 billion farce, Vancouver 2010 is already about $5.5 billion into overruns, and London 2012 is already over budget by about $12 billion and rising.

    Not one of the Host cites since 2002 has posted a tangible benefit respective of tourism or foreign capital investment that comes even close to a return on an investment that is “reasonably proportionate” to the money taxpayers in these regions paid out.

    NBC however, the official broadcaster, boasts that they place advertising in front of 4 billion people at each Summer Games, and in front of 3 billion people at each Winter Games. Corporate sponsors make off like bandits while taxpayers foot the bill.

    Regarding the next Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, the IOC recently negotiated an agreement with Canwest, a Canadian news publisher, currently on life support btw, that effectively pays their local struggling newspapers well to report the Olympic side of the Olympic story. If it were not for the access to local residents Canwest’s newspapers provide, the IOC would have an extremely difficult time conscripting volunteers.

    If the IOC embraces social media they will have millions of people in Host regions complaining incessantly on their websites BEFORE THE GAMES HIT TOWN. If the IOC can’t attract volunteers, they can’t host an event.

    Newspapers on the VANOC payroll very rarely allow TIMELY COMMENTING on Olympic related articles, and when they do, they censure posts that tie news media to the Olympic business model. It took The Vancouver Sun a year before they placed the Olympic rings logo on their newspaper identifying them as an official Olympic partner, which meant that for this entire period readers were not aware of their bias.

    Turin 2006 created an Indie media center that was moderately successful, but social media had not yet hit full stride. Vancouver 2010 is currently creating an Indie Media Centre that will give international unaccredited media access to athletes and local businesses in real time. London is by far much further ahead in this respect, and by the time 2012 rolls around the IOC will have lost substantial control of their manipulative and unethical relationship with local mainstream news media.

    If you want details here are a few links to get you up to speed . . .

    Social Media & the Olympics

    Can Twitter Save the Olympics?

    Newspaper Admits to Being an Official Paid Olympic Booster

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