Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Media Blitz

For the first time I am watching an Olymic event inside at the press center. I feel like I'm cheating a bit, but there are lots of other journalists in here doing the same. The pluses are that it's warm and I'm online watching the live tv feed of the race which I can see perfectly. I can also listen to the quotes athletes give live to various tv stations and translate them from German if that's what they're speaking.
Michaela Dorfmeister just won the downhill, Marlies Schild was second and Anja Paerson was third, and I would not have been able to tell you that if I were standing at the finish.
At the venue press center in Sestriere Borgata and Sestriere Colle for example, the guys (and they are guys) who do the live comments and live timing are tucked away in their own little tent. I stuck my head in yesterday and felt like I had discovered the Wizard of Oz. Tons of computers and tv screens and other equipment I didn't even recognize, and no one was saying a word.
In the main press room the vibe is quite different. There is lots of talking going on. Reporters showing off their angles and making small talk, asking logistical questions and generally sharing information. Sometimes it's too much and I have to put on my ipod to tune it all out.
Also distracting is the mass amounts of information that is coming at me all the time. The walls are lined with boxes where the latest result are placed. Biathlon, snowboard, skiing, skeleton, you name it and there is more than enough information for a hundred different articles. On top of the results there are dozens of quote sheets and press conference highlights, even interviews with different athletes.
It all shows the complexity of the Olympics for the media. It is super busy all the time. We wake up early get on a bus, go to an event, stand in the security line, get scanned find the venue press center turn on our computers right away and begin typing. By the time you get where you're going there are four or five emails with updates on who is leading what event or who has crashed out. Overnight there are about 40 emails waiting in your inbox that take a solid half-hour to wade through. After the event there's a rush to get quotes. We pack in against the fence and lean our voice recorders the athlete's way. Then it's back to the press center for the conference after the flower ceremony at the finish. Back on the bus now, computers on if you're smart or a good time to catch a nap, then back to the main media center to file stories and send photos.
Granted it's all new to me and luckily I have a weekly deadline instead of a daily for my first Olympics, but slowly I am getting the routine and filing more quickly.
That's a typical day. The tough part is deciding when to quit go get some pasta and head to sleep. Tougher is resisting the urge to go live it up a little, this is the Olympics after all.


Post a Comment

<< Home