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Open Letter to VANOC Media Relations and Press Operations from Social Media Makers – Open Letter #1

Open Letter to VANOC Media Relations and Press Operations from Social Media Makers, by Dave Olson

NOTE: Sent to VANOC {mediarelations@vancouver2010.com, pressoperations@vancouver2010.com} Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008.
Cross-posted at: urbanvancouver.com, 2010.dailyvancouver.com, nowpublic.com, etc.

Hello VANOC Media Relations and Press Operations,

I am writing today on behalf of Raincity Studios, a Vancouver-based social media company who owns and publishes a suite of media properties. We had hoped to talk about social media (blogs, podcasts, twitter, wikis etc.) at the World Press Briefing this week, however we did not receive any response from the applications we submitted to participate in the event. So, as per Mr. Furlong’s suggestion at the Vancouver Board of trade meeting last week, we are liaising with VANOC.

In brief, we’d like to have a conversation about how to allow fans and amateur media makers to document their Olympic experience while keeping out of the way of the IOC IP lawyers. As a company and as individuals, we’ve produced extensive, non-accredited coverage of Beijing 2008, Torino 2006, SLC 2002, and Nagano 1998. With the next games literally in our neighborhood, we’ll be hosting an independent, international media centre at our Gastown loft office. As part of this, we’ll organize events like photo walks and aggregate fan-made content for the enjoyment of a worldwide audience. We’d like to work with you to do this for mutual benefit.

As you likely know, Vancouver is a hub of innovative journalism with companies like ourselves, Now Public, and others plus renowned conferences like Northern Voice. Raincity Studios/Bryght is also an “official weblog service provider.” My colleagues Robert Scales and Kris Krug were published in the academic paper “Pathway: Critiques and Discourse In Olympic Research,” participated in the 9th International Symposium on Olympic Studies in Beijing and will be presenting about the experiences at the noted SXSW Interactive conference in 2009.

Among my colleagues and myself, we’ve posted thousands of photos, dozens of audio and video podcasts along with hundreds of blog posts, updates etc. from several Olympics. Additionally, we’ve cooperated with mainstream media and published Olympic-related coverage in the LA Times, BBC online, plus outlets in Poland, Brazil, Shanghai, and so on.

In Torino, Scales and Krug (and others) tested cutting edge equipment for Comvu and produced a cross-ocean symposium “Athletes and Social media” between Turin and Vancouver. In Beijing, they tested camera for Qik and contributed to many mainstream media outlets. Our own media properties include DailyVancouver.com, UrbanVancouver.com, Hockeynw.com, plus dozens of other presences, and we are allied with dozens of other media properties in BC and around the world.

Mr. Scales is China desk editor for Now Public and has presented to numerous international business groups about Olympics and business. Mr. Krug is ranked #4 on Vancouver Sun’s “Internet Most Visible in Vancouver” list, both Krug and Scales were included on Tech Vibes “Vancouver Digital Media People to Watch 2008″ list and appear on various other “best of” lists.

As for myself, I’ve produced extensive photo essays of event venues and published interviews with Canadian athletes like Duff Gibson, Ross Rebagliati and Crispin Lipscomb and written magazine articles about Olympians. I also appear on CBC Radio One discussing sports culture and new media as the producer/host of the Canucks Outsider podcast.

Bear in mind, aside form the occasional stipend, we do this work for no pay.

We are aware of your obligations to media rights holders and are seeking to provide an entirely different sort of coverage than the accredited media provide. We are not looking to cover events per se but are instead interested in covering the cultural stories, athletes’ families’ stories, and stories from fans who saved and traveled from around the world for this experience. In other words, we plan to encourage and aggregate fan coverage of the individual’s “on the street” experience of the Games. We are locals who have watched (and helped pay for) the development of the Games since before the Plebiscite – as a result, we are tuned in to the issues and excitement surrounding the Games.

To begin our liaison relationship, we would like to attend the media briefing portion of the Worldwide Press Briefing on Thursday. We would also schedule a follow-up conversation with the appropriate point of contact to discuss how we as a weblog vendor company, and as individuals, can be involved in providing amateur coverage of Vancouver/Whistler 2010.

With Best Regards,

daveo (and Robert Scales and Kris Krug)

Dave Olson
Community Evangelist
Raincitystudios.com
PS These links will provide a flavour of our point of view:

* Raincity Studios Olympics posts: http://raincitystudios.com/search/node/olympics
* Olympic overage at Daily Vancouver: http://2010.dailyvancouver.com
* Beijing kick off post: http://raincitystudios.com/blogs-and-pods/daveo/beijing-2008-social-media-backpack
* Krug’s Flickr Olympics photos: http://flickr.com/photos/kk/tags/olympics
* Scales’ Flickr Olympics photos: http://flickr.com/photos/raincitystudios/tags/olympics
* Olson’s Flickr Olympics photos: http://flickr.com/photos/uncleweed/tags/olympics
* You Tube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/robertscales
* Olympic Outsider podcast feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/olympicoutsider
* Scales’ Olympic coverage on Now Public: http://my.nowpublic.com/user/6247/assignments
* SLC 2002 photo/video essay: http://olsonboys.org/galleries/olympic-gallery.html

Source: Open Letter to VANOC Media Relations and Press Operations from Social Media Makers | Vancouver Access 2010

The Role of New Web Media at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games via Vancouver Access 2010

The Role of New Web Media at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games | Vancouver Access 2010 by Dave Olson, June 5, 2008

I’ve mentioned some pre-Olympic and Olympic Games related activities coming up in passing. Now, as topics are piling up and the Beijing Summer Games are nearing (complete with controversy), henceforth begins a blog mini-series called, “China, The Olympics, Social Media, Symposiums, etc.” – I think I’ll need a better name for the series though. Suggestions are welcome.

we are the media 2010.dailyvancouver.com

Background

As you likely know, Raincity Studios actively conducts business in China with an office in Shanghai and the Raincity Studios site is published in English and Mandarin (French underway) and we collaborate with Chinese colleagues and some of us (not me) study Mandarin language. Just so ya know where we’re coming from.

Social Media at Olympics

As for the Olympic games, RCS crew were at Torino 2006 – documenting the Olympic events as social media journalists using the Torino Piemonte Media Center and creating heaps for grassroots coverage (see Torino Flickr pool, DailyVancouver Torino, coverage) as well as participating in BC House activities on a professional basis.Along with Scales, BMann and KK in Turin, Roland, Will Pate and I linked up for a cross-ocean symposium “Web 2.0 and the Future of Sport” about tech and athletics featuring gold medalist Ross Rebagliati (Flickrcoffeewithross).Live SimulcastAmong other topics, we discussed the restrictions (or lack thereof) put on self-expression by athletes as well as ways the participants can use technology to better communicate with friends and family back home. Really so many athletes will never make it to TV and their families seek the micro-coverage possible only by crowd sourcing e.g. the first ever Nepali winter Olympian (SLC 2002 Olympics collection).

Olympian Politics

With the 2010 Winter Games coming to our HQ city of Vancouver, and the resultant controversies (mostly concerning tax money spent on events rather than poverty and homelessness), we, like much of the world, are watching as the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing is becoming increasingly politicized and watching the reaction of the government and the citizens of the world.The most visible conundrum is the torch relay which was used as a rallying point for anti-China protesters and widely reported about on Now Public among other citizen journalism and mainstream media sites.Certainly political gamesmanship is a staple in the modern Olympic games and the heavy handed security surrounding the torch parade is only the beginning of a conversation about the perceived emphasis on tight security and enforcing the stringent policies of the Chinese government rather than using this global event as a springboard to openness.Having met several Olympic athletes who are eager to chronicle their experience freely, I am curious if athletes will be allowed and encouraged to speak openly while at the Games? (Blogging, Athletes and web sites – …). Can they report on their experiences in candid fashion? Can they explore the region and travel the country without hindrance? or will the world see just the parts of China which look good on TV?

Make Your Own Media

Beyond the political conversations, as social media content creators and advocates of journalistic access for indie producers, we are also watching carefully as the policies about social media coverage are created (by who?).So far there are mixed signals about athletes not/allowed to blog, and how amateur created content can be used (is posting your personal Olympic photos Flickr OK?) How about creating podcast coverage of the games with reaction to in-person and/or televised coverage?Dr. Andy Miah at the Piedmont Media Center in Torino 06

International Symposium

Well, we’re not the only ones with these questions. Olympic scholar Dr. Andy Miah is organizing a panel at the9th International Symposium on Olympic Studies, in Beijing, August 5-7, 2008.Before we get too far along, what is the ICOS?

The International Centre for Olympic Studies, established at The University of Western Ontario in 1989, was the first of its kind in the world. It remains the only such Centre in the Americas. It has as its primary mission the generation and dissemination of academic scholarship focused specifically upon the socio-cultural study of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement.

And the event blurb:

The Symposium’s theme, “Deconstruction and Discourse: Odysseys in Olympic Socio-Cultural Matters,” focuses on research studies dealing with the history, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy of the modern Olympic Movement.

Emerging Journalism Panel

Dr. Miah (who is a Reader in New Media & Bioethics, School of Media, Language & Music, University of the West of Scotland)’s topic is “Emergent Journalistic Practice at the Olympics” will feature a panel of Ana Adi,Beatriz Garcia, Raincity Studios President Kris Krug, Raincity Studios CEO Robert Scales,Garry Whannel, and Tina Zhihui.Here’s the panel description from the abstract:{Ed note: Paragraph breaks mine to make easier reading}

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.

Next up, More Questions


Now that you are briefed with sufficient background, the next post will pose a variety of questions which the panel will discuss so you can share your opinions about “China, The Olympics, Social Media, Symposiums, etc.”

Source: The Role of New Web Media at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games | Vancouver Access 2010

Social Media’s Place in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games | Flock

Social Media’s Place in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games via Flock, Nov. 25, 2008, By Will Pate

Note: Article shared here in full for historical record. Original article link is broken, as such, accessed from Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Feb. 2017.  Posted with original publication date to place in context.

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Rebagliati Park in Whistler…

See, there really is a park named after Ross in Whistler! Stop by for a doob sometime

Olympic Flag Reception at Vancouver City Hall – photo gallery

Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean (a Haitian refuge who immigrated to Quebec as a child) and Mayor Sam Sullivan (suddenly, the world’s second most famous quadriplegic) were on hand with a phalanx of officers of everykind to reveal the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympic flag.

Olympic Flag Reception at City Hall

Blogging, Athletes and Web Sites via Vancouver Access 2010

Blogging, Athletes and web sites via Vancouver Access 2010, Feb. 16, 2006, by Dave Olson

The IOC has told athletes not to participate in journalistic activities, which to them, means blogging.  This is good and bad. Bad cause i want to read the personal notes of the athletes rather than the contrived emotion and occasionally inane interviews.  In some ways this ban is GOOD because it shows that the whole citizen as journalist/artist/communicator trip is on the radar of the “grey suits” who run the IOC (and of course control the world ;-) ).

This is lame because many athletes use blogging as a means to stay in touch with family, friends and supporters.

A few examples of web stuff i’ve come across:

Kari Traa – the (uhh sorta hot) Norwegian mogul skiier keeps a “gossip” section on her site which she blogs about “controversial” content like where she is sleeping at the village (big screenshot on Flickr).  However, the IOC has decided that her actions are verbotten (big screenshot on Flickr).

Kari Traa - No blogging allowed

Why is this?  In thinking it over, the IOC feels that athletes blogging either a) infringes on someone’s rights; or, b) has potential to be inflammatory or otherwise contrary to the Olympic ideals, or c), am i missing something.

Torino Conversations – With athlete’s blogging is not allowed, corporate sponsor (err sorry, … Olympic “family”) blogging is allowed as demonstrated by a certain sugar-laden, artificially-colored beverage company’s attemptat promoting citizen journalism.  It comes across as amateurish, not amateurish like, “ahh these kids are making it themselves” but amateurish like an ad exec said, “hey billy, you like that Internet, go make find kids and do some of that bloggin stuff my kids talk about”  While the kids who are getting the trips are stoked, and the result is just lacking in any sort of insight or cutting-edgeiness.

Off the Podium is IOC’s official site seems to be geared towards USA disenchanted youth apparently.  They spent a lot of money on this Flash-o-mania site with moving shit and popping up console windows.  Mostly bios on athletes and explaining why said athletes are “cool.”  Seems like there is some good content here, just so buried in the endless container (egads, frames) that it isn’t worth the brain-strain.

TV coverage is starting back up so this is all you get for now.  Enjoy!

More later on Begg-Smith spam-antic, more websites, and hockey blather, and oh yea, i haven’t forgot about the SLC Flashback series but i am still putzing away at it – thanks for caring.

Source: Blogging, Athletes and web sites – to be continued … | Vancouver Access 2010

Torino 2006, Sunday Olympic Notebook for Feb. 12 via Vancouver Access 2010

Sunday morning observations ~ Olympic Notebook for Feb. 12, 2006 for Vancouver Access 2010, By Dave Olson

Greetings this Sunday Morning!

Just a couple of observations from last night’s and this mornings events from coverage I’ve managed to catch – augmented by a few notes by Dan Funboy.

Besides Jennifer Heil’s awesome performance and Women’s Hockey rolling over Italy (as I type they are leading Russia 10-0), i enjoyed an inspired performance by Italian long-track speed skater (insert name here), who absolutely looked like he was being pushed by the Italian crowd.  Great to see the homer country get on the medal board early too.

More about Speed skating, that hotshot American kid is fast and determined, watch his technique, a double push but they’ll likely talk about this on TV-coverage.  CBC has Catroina LeMay Doan doing color commentary and she was quite good (though she looks rather soccer-mom-ish now – cause well, … she probably is) but she called on Canada to support more and help the athletes to “own the podium” (the Canadian mantra).

06-catriona-lemay&doanCatriona Lemay and husband, Doan at Soldier Hollow Cross Country venue, Winter Olympics 2002 – photo Dave Olson

Of course, in egalitarian and thrifty Canada, most folks want the money spread around so each athlete can get a piece of the pie but, later as the Federal Sport Minister pointed out, they is better return on investment (judged by medals won) but entirely supporting elite athletes with best chance of medaling.

Digression … CBC has some versatile announcers to be sure, and I love a Saturday without Bob Cole and Harry Neale (retire for Pete’s sake), Ron Maclean is a national treasure, Steve Armitage is pretty good at everything but not great at any one, Brian Williams is Canada’s excessively perky Regis.

Claudia Pechstein and Daniela Anschuetz Thoms just skated the 3000m.  Claudia won in 2002 and Canada’s Cindy Klasussen holds the record and skates.  Not Claudia’s best race, a NED 19 year old sits in first.

Claudia Pechstein on drums
Claudia Pechstein, basking in Gold Medal joy and sitting in on drums with Acoustica at the Thuringen House, SLC 2002

26-danielle-onstage
Firecracker Danilea Anschutz of the German long-track speed skating team partying down at the Thuringen House, SLC 2002

Continuing update … Cindy is underway and flying so far, hope she keeps the pace, still under the time, drafting off her pairing (NED Groenewold) down the stretch, smart … still below the target after 2 laps – still looking relaxed and solid, 4 laps now and she is bonking, and slipped and Groenewold wins the heat as Klaussen lost it, tightening up on the last lap. Sits in third but still 4 skaters to go including Canada’s Christina Groves and Clara Hughes.

Freisinger skates now with Groves and neither skaters finished top 3. Clara set to start vs. Sablikova of CZE.  False start and then away clean.  The races have been fast and racers bonking at end so Clara must skate her pace.

Well no go for Sarah but Cindy finishes in Bronze position (same finish as SLC 2002) while the young Nederlander scores Gold.  Both Germans were shut out.

BTW, i really don’t like hearing about athlete’s “faiths” on air, i think that is a personal issue and the fact that she is a Mennonite doesn’t add to the athletic coverage.

Back to Women’s hockey vs Russia 11-0 now halfway through the 3rd.  In training, the women played 22 games vs. Alberta men’s midget teams (not *really* wee folks, just young men) and finished 10-10-2 and increased their physical game with more rough and tumble play.

It is amazing to see the veterans players for Canada against the Italian women last night (replayed from yesterday).  The Italians were tiny and young and looked dazzled by the burly and experienced Canadians to say the least.  Major props to the Italians who battled through to the end.  Heck, I wouldn’t want to have Goyette or Wickenheiser bearing down on me (yikes!).

Vicky Sunohara and Cherry Piper are my favorites.  Sunohara was awesome, gritty, smart player at Nagano and is Piper is wee but a battler and has great hands around the net.
24-can-goldmedal
Cherry Piper with newly won Gold Medal at the M’s Gold Medal Curling match at SLC 2002

12-0 now vs Russia, kinda a joke and an awkward situation for Canada to not let up and if they do, the gain lazy habits in front of net and on backcheck etc.

While Canada continues to roll, a note on downhill skiing which demonstrates the unpredictability of sport with the hotshot Americans finishing out of medals with a darkhorse Frenchman taking gold and Austria and Switzerland taking Silver and Bronze. Manuel Osborn-Paradis was the top Canucks finishing in 13th place Canucks while teammate Francois Bourque came in 16th with a strong finish.  The last Canadian also placed top 30, John Kucera came in in 27th place 2.75 sec off the winning time – just wait for 2010.

Cross-country skiier Beckie Scott finished in, what is likely a disappointing 6th, but in a 2002 Bronze finish, she managed to move up 2 places with positive doping test so maybe she’ll manage to gain a few places again.

Digression … is that Personal Digital Recorders (i.e. Tivo, Replay etc.) are excellent for the Olympics – why is Canada slow to adopt this tech just now available (as mentioned in the ubiquitous commercials)?  I have a Replay TV but no way to subscribe in Canada and I am trying to set it up just to pause and record what i am watching at the moment.

Next up on CBC, Short Track Speed skating and Jeff Christie Luging.

Go Canada!

Source: Sunday morning observations ~ Olympic Notebook for Feb. 12  | Vancouver Access 2010

First Few Days of Torino 2006 – Olympic Outsider #1

photo by Robert @Scales
photo by Robert @Scales

Listen: First Few Days of Torino 2006 – Olympic Outsider #1 (.mp3, 51:12)

Blurb: Olympic Outsider podcast featuring audio discourse and chatter the Winter Olympics sports with emphasis on Team Canada athletes – starting with coverage of Turin 2006 .

In episode #1, Host Dave Olson is joined by “Sweatpants Mark” to discuss recent noteworthy performances and remarks about the TV and other media coverage. Topics include: Women’s moguls and half-pipe, Chinese figure skaters, Latvian fans, Long-track speed skating and more.

Subscribe: Olympic Outsider podcast feed