World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

How can you cover the uncoverable?

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

How can you cover the uncoverable?

There will be 10,500 competitors, compared with 4,000 in 1948, and 302 events in 26 sports. There will be 130 world leaders in London, 1 billion people will watch the opening ceremony, and hundreds of leading business executives will also be there.

Coverage will be comprehensive and instantaneous. The BBC will be offering 21 concurrent streams. Twitter, which was in its infancy at the Beijing Olympics, has become a full-blown media force.

Ben Clissitt, Head of Sport for the Telegraph Media Group, describes the challenges of covering such an event this way: “It’s too big, you can’t cover the number of people, I don’t know what stories will emerge, and they’ll be on Twitter before I have a chance to publish anything.”

Nevertheless, there is an important role and function for traditional media, and Mr Clissitt offers a thoughtful presentation on how newspaper companies can approach an event such as the Olympic Games.

Among his points:

  • Newspapers can help “bridge the information gap.”  When it comes to most of the Olympic sports, “People don’t know that much about them. People are really interested in them, but don’t know a lot about them. We will try to make the reader and user comfortable at all times, make them feel like they really know what’s going on. It sounds obvious, but you don’t spend a lot of time doing it with most sports, because people know them.”
  • Newspapers can provide the narrative and offer an antidote to information overload. “At every point, the reader and user will know what happened on the previous day, why they should care about it and where they can find more information about it.”
  • Newspapers can be “liberated by impossibility.” Since the Olympics is too vast to cover everything, and other media are providing comprehensive coverage, it frees newspapers “to just go for something you think is a good story, and do it big.”
  • Newspapers have the staff to do the job well. “You don’t need experts,” Mr Clissitt says. “Your journalists will produce great copy. We're all still storytellers.

“Connecting people to the basic things is what is going to be make a difference. Hopefully we’ll offer something a little bit different, and people will want to come back to our side,” he said.



2012-03-30 12:38

Author information

Journalists and sport experts from all over the world will gather at the home stadium of Real Madrid in Madrid, Spain, on 29 and 30 March for the International Sports News Conference. WAN-IFRA will provide summaries of each speaker's presentation during the event. Check back on our blog for the latest updates.

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