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Social networking media push for inclusion in Olympic plan – Inside the 2010 Olympics

Social networking media push for inclusion in Olympic plan

[archived link]

By JEFF LEE 11-24-2008 COMMENTS(7) INSIDE THE 2010 OLYMPICS

Filed under: OlympicsVancouverVanocBeijing20102008Winter GamesmarketingOlympic GamesmediaChina

I’m just learning about all the new ways to try and connect with readers and colleagues online – whether it is FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn or other social and professional networking sites. I’m a bit of a babe in the woods compared to some of my journalism colleagues for whom this comes so easily.

But I get the whole idea behind the growing importance of online media. So do many of the journalists who cover the Olympics. A week ago today the International Olympic Committee’s press commission – which includes colleagues from major news agencies and publications – held a robust discussion in Vancouver after Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley opened debate by suggesting there needs to be a fundamental rethink about how the Games are covered.

So it was a bit surprising to discover that the Vancouver Organizing Committee seems reluctant to include some types of online reporters in its planning for the 2010 Games. On Thursday Vanoc was asked in an open letter from Dave Olson, an online writer with Raincity Studios, to allow some of his colleagues to attend the World Press Briefing.

They didn’t get an answer. But on Sunday, Renee Smith-Valade, a.spokeswoman for Vanoc, sent the following hopeful email to me.

[Note: numerous spelling /typographical errors corrected from original email from Renee Smith-Valade see original]

“Undoubtedly online media and the Internet as a news source and forum for discourse continues to grow phenomenally. That’s why we have spent considerable resources to make our website our number one source of information and why we will continue to look for ways to make it a platform for discussion as well as information and purchasing. We welcome online media interest from all sources and were encouraged to see online media representatives registered for the recent World Press Briefing. 

“The IOC is the ultimate arbiter on the representation on the Press Commission, and each country’s National Olympic Committee determines which media get accredited for the Games. As the Organizing Committee we can and will encourage both entities to recognize and facilitate the immense growth of online media, however ultimately decisions for press commission membership and Games accreditation lie with them. We have not yet responded to the open letter from the social media group but will do so in the coming days. 

“Overall, we were extremely pleased with the World Press briefing. Tours of the sport venues, press facilities and accommodations were well received, our tourism partners really stepped up with warm hospitality and Mother Nature even helped show off Vancouver and Whistler at their finest in the sunshine. There was healthy discussion on a range of logistical issues and topics, none of which came as a surprise: accommodation rates, travel and how the major media centers will work, to name just three. We have more work to do to build on our solid progress to date to get ready for the arrival of the world press. They all seemed to leave satisfied with the work we’re doing to make sure they will be able to do their job to take the 2010 Games stories to the world.”

It will be interesting to see how willing Vanoc and the IOC will be to adopting new forms of journalism. One of those I’ve also interviewed for a story running today in The Vancouver Sun is former Los Angeles Times sports editor Dave Morgan, who is now chief executive of Yahoo Sports, and who told me that Yahoo’s solid presence in Beijing in August drew more than 32 million unique visitors to their micro Olympics site. 

You can read the complete story on our Road to 2010 page.

COMMENTS

Dave Olson

Thanks for the excellent journalism Jeff – i think the social web media and “traditional” media have a lot to learn from each other.

Ultimately it comes down to providing more than “one size fits all” coverage and allowing a more diverse variety of viewpoints and delivery methods so interested readers can experience the stories of the Game that they care about personally.

No matter the delivery method, insightful writing and high-quality photography/audio/video always floats to the top regardless of the credentials of the creator.

Looking forward to hearing back from VANOC and continuing the conversation for the joint benefit of media makers, worldwide audiences and even the IOC and rights-holders.

November 24, 2008 3:57 PM

Jordan Behan

The decision to exclude the likes of the Raincity gang is quite puzzling, even without a social media strategy in place.

In Dave’s full letter, he highlights the history of the fan-based, non-intrusive coverage they’ve done at previous Olympic Games, and it’s clear that this kind of participation only benefits the host city, the Games and even the holders of exclusive broadcast rights.

I’m holding out hope that Vanoc (and our Canadian Olympic committee, apparently) will take great strides, not only to appear to appease social media creators, but instead fully embrace the concept and help to redefine citizen journalism’s role in Games coverage. With some creativity, they should be able to do so inside of the confines of the above-mentioned (archaic in these times, if you ask me) broadcast rights.

November 24, 2008 8:02 PM

Michelle Evans

Interesting article. I think VANOC is looking at this the wrong way. Promotion of your own website as the only source of information is counter-productive to embracing social media. Social media is about getting your message out to where people already are vs. fighting to bring them in to you. What would be productive is finding those champions who want to rally and bring all those sources together via social networks; like the team at Raincity, for instance.

November 25, 2008, 2:00 PM

Carol Sill

A social media strategy is essential to any major worldwide event in the 21st century. By the time the Olympics get here there will have been even more exponential growth in social media adoption and its hybridization with mainstream media. It’s a no-brainer for VANOC to now consider major Vancouver social media players as the press. Raincity, Miss604, et al are more than hyper-local citizen journalists. Their audience is world-wide, and I believe they have the experience and savvy to respectfully help solve any potential media rights issues. This IS the nature of journalism now.

November 25, 2008, 9:16 PM

Rebecca Bollwitt

Fantastic work by DaveO and Jeff in bringing this issue to light for many.

“No matter the delivery method, insightful writing and high-quality photography/audio/video always floats to the top regardless of the credentials of the creator.”

I know I’ll be covering it for my site regardless come 2010.

November 25, 2008, 9:58 PM

Derek K. Miller

Great points, Dave, but I’d make one addition: “…the joint benefit of media makers, worldwide audiences and even the IOC and rights-holders.”

And athletes, of course.

November 26, 2008, 1:54 AM

Dave Olson

Indeed Derek, there was been controversy about whether or not athletes can blog and what they can talk about. At the Opening ceremonies of recent Olympics, many athletes are taking photos, making video, live phone calls, etc.

What are they allowed to do with the footage they create? What happens if an athlete live-streams their experience from a camera phone (ask Roland how ;-))? Does it matter if they are streaming live to “just the folks back home”? Whose jurisdiction is this to enforce?

Remember many athletes performances’ never it make it to TV despite their best efforts, and many athletes’ families aren’t able to attend the Games and certainly want to feel part of the experience.

As Carol and Michelle point out, this “social” content is, by nature, made to be found by anyone, anywhere – and by an audience of enthusiasts who expect to interact with both the media and the makers.

When the Olympics call forth “the youth of the world to gather in four years …” in the closing ceremonies, they are also calling the youth as fans who aren’t reading newspapers nor be they want the plain ole’ TV coverage (which is geared to an older generation anyhow).

The youth expect a richer media choice and with diverse points of view. And they want coverage provided by people who they can relate to (like Rebecca ;-)), who are finding unique stories on the ground. Oh yeah, and they want it anytime they want.

Social Media and Playoff Fever in Vancouver | Raincity Studios

Social Media and Playoff Fever in Vancouver | Raincity Studios by Jeff Traynor

Note: retrieved via waybackmachine

Mobile Non-Profit Campaigns and Projects – Raincity Radio, 2008

Mobile Non-Profit Campaigns and Projects
Mobile Non-Profit Campaigns and Projects with Dave Olson and Roland Tanglao at Workspace in Gastown, Vancouver (photo credit = unknown)

Mobile technology can change the world – or help people express themselves with art and community. Roland Tanglao discusses an assortment of mobile-themed projects and  open-source technology initiatives undertaken by Raincity Studios and partners – primarily in context of enriching Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, engaging Whistler’s transitory residents, and enlivening Vancouver Art Gallery’s FUSE program, plus providing tools to cultural animators in divergent communities.

The future is present: Mobile Non-Profit Campaigns and Projects (15MB, 128K mp3, 16:01)

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Mobile technology can change the world – or at least help people express themselves with art and improve safety too. Raincity Studios’ Support Services Coordinator and digital experimentalist, Roland Tanglao discuss an assortment of mobile-themed projects and initiatives with host DaveO including:

Originally released by Dave O for Raincity Studios, Dec. 24, 2008.

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

SXSW: Open Source Conversations about WordPress and Drupal

At SXSW Interactive 2009, Robert Scales of web community building company Raincity Studios (now defunct) leads a conversation from the Maxell Studio on the trade show floor with his colleague, photographer (etc) Kris Krug, and Matt Mullenweg of WordPress. They discuss the variety of open platforms available for content creators and differences and similarities, and what the future holds for web publishers.

Open Source Culture From Romania Vancouver – Raincity Radio

Open Source Culture - Dave Olson (with mic) with developers Zak Greant and Darid Ashcer, by Boris Mann via Flick (cc)
Open Source Culture – Dave Olson (with mic) with developers Zak Greant and Darid Ashcer, by Boris Mann via Flick (cc)

Open Source Culture – photo of Zak Great and Darid Achser by Boris Mann via Flick (cc)With the eLiberatica conference in Bucharest, Romania {see also: eLiberatica 2008 in Romania – The benefits of Open and Free Technologies} approaching, Raincity Radio host DaveO, along with Boris Mann, sit down with two noteworthy presenters, Zak Greant and David Ascher, to discuss the importance of open source in emerging economies, various Mozilla Foundation projects (including MoFo, MoCo, MoMo), plus a casual conversation about OS community building and management, Romanian cuisine, prawn fishing, and developer culture in Europe and Vancouver.

Originally released by Dave O for Raincity Studios, May 5, 2008

Geek out with: Open Source Culture From Romania Vancouver – Raincity Radio (28MB, 192k mp3, 20:14)

SxSW Snow Day Limocast – Raincity Radio, 2008

Dave O at Raincity HQ at SXSW 2008
Dave O at Raincity HQ at SXSW 2008 – photo by Kris Krug via Flickr

After a canceled flight to Dallas, DaveO and KK (then of Vancouver’s Raincity Studios) roll back to Gastown (in a limo) to regroup before heading to Austin for SxSW Interactive and Music fests. Along the way, they discuss panels, marketing tactics, band photography, questions for REM, and networking strategies.

Shut the door for: SxSW Snow Day Limocast (10:48, 15MB, 192k mp3)

Originally released by Dave O for Raincity Studios, March 8, 2008.

Roland, Richard and Dave Talk Raincity Social with Snacks #video

At a noisy New Town Cafe in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Roland, Richard and me (Dave), we riff about noted geeks, Northern Voice and Moose Camp with social media bootcamp, presenting skills, video blogging,  previewing my Fuck Stats, Make Art talk, last year’s Podcasting spiel and how to get tickets.

Namechecks for Matt Mullenweg, Marc Canter, Jordan Behan, Andy Smith, Warren Frey, etc.