Emergent Journalistic Practice at the Olympics
In: 9th International Symposium on Olympic Research, International Centre for Olympic Studies, University of Western Ontario & Beijing Capital Universiy
Chair: Andy Miah
Panel: Ana Adi, Beatriz Garcia, Kris Krug, Garry Whannel, Tina Zhihui.
Research into the role of the media within the Olympic Movement has focused predominantly on representational questions. Far less research has investigated the journalistic culture of an Olympic Games or the Movement more generally, besides analyses of its contribution to sustaining the Olympic Movement. Moreover, nearly no research has examined the work of those journalists who are peripheral to the organizational staging of the Games. This category includes journalists who are associated with accredited media institutions, but whom might not have formal accreditation due to restrictions on numbers of passes. It also includes journalists who are from major media organizations, but whom have no intention of working from Olympic facilities. However, it also includes non-accredited journalists, which encompasses professional journalists from a range of organizations, along with freelance or citizen journalists, whose work is utilized by the mass media and is duplicated in independent domains.
This panel engages some of these issues in the form of a round table debate about the future of journalism at the Olympic Games. It reviews some of the implications of emerging new media platforms, arguing that the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games can be characterized as the first Web 2.0 Summer Games. While some principles of Web 2.0 have been visible since the Internet’s inception, critical aspects of its current architecture began to flourish around 2005. Applications from this era, such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, more adequately enable users to report the Olympics as citizen journalists. The implications of this within China and for the Olympics more broadly are considerable. As mass media organizations begin to strike partnerships with new media institutions – for instance, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) purchased a YouTube channel in March 2007 – questions remain over how the Olympic Movement will protect its intellectual property, as the base broadens over ownership claims and via distributed publishing syndication.