sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Gladwell's Line: 2012 Olympic Review - The Media - Friend or Foe?
Gladwell's Line: 2012 Olympic Review - The Media - Friend or Foe?

'49er Gold medalists, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (right) milking the Mixed Zone, while their two minders (in sunglasses) from Yachting Australia positively purr in the background. Each out stretched microphone probably represents on average, a hundred thousand readers.'    Richard Gladwell    Click Here to view large photo

The Olympics are a unique occasion. Once every four years Sailing gets to be seen alongside other sports, at the same time, and in the same frame.

As well as being covered by regular Sailing media, who report and shoot images of the sport on a near-daily basis, Sailing comes under the purview of many general sporting journalists (and their editors), many of whom are getting their first exposure to a new sport.

The way it works is that the sailing media will turn up from the get-go of the Olympic regatta, in reality two days before the first race. The general media turn up in the final week - to cover the Finals, and Medals. They move in, having covered the Rowing and other sports that complete their competition in the first week.

For the Olympic sailors, and their handlers, it is an opportunity they can run two ways.

NZL’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie talk with TV in the Mixed Zone after their Gold Medal win -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
They can either take the media along for the ride through the highs and lows of the final week of competition, or they can shut them out for the duration, focus on the winning medals and then share the good news at the end. Their hope is the neglected media are still hanging around, and/or that their interest will last more than just the rest of the evening of the Medal win.

Where the daily interactions take place is in the Mixed Zone (where the sailors mix with the media) - before the racing, and mostly afterwards.

The sailors generally walk through a roped lane, and if they wish, give short interviews with media who are arranged in a priority line - with TV at the head through to the sailing media such as websites, with radio, newspaper and higher priority news outlets in between . Some newspapers and print journalists move around behind the sailing media to get a second round of quotes and comment, and can lean on the technical knowledge of the sailing specialists.

To be honest, we didn't frequent the Mixed Zone too much. We've seen the racing close up on the water for the past five hours, and could write on that basis. Where it useful is if a competitor has some mishap, for a reason which is not apparent and needs an explanation that only they can give.

In many ways the competitors run a media gauntlet, and the stop at each point is usually a couple of minutes or so, unless they really want to milk the media and lift the exposure for themselves and their sport.

Other than maybe the TV stops, the gig is not compulsory. However you skip it at your peril.

Yachting NZ cop a caning from NZ media

Very simply, you can either embrace the media or keep it at arms length.

Photographers at work on one boat - there were about 15 photography boats alone at the Olympics with an average of four photographers per boat - maybe more -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Yachting New Zealand took the latter approach and has been widely castigated in media reviews of the Olympics, with at least three major NZ news outlets commenting on their distant approach, and with one suggesting that the team management should 'walk the plank' (Click here and scroll down to Sailing.)

The issue came to a head on the final day of fleet racing for the Womens 470, when the NZ competitors would not stop for at least two members of the NZ media who were waiting for comment on their 18th place in the final race - which had turned the Gold Medal into a match race.

Sailing media cover the event in two ways - either by going on the water - which means for photographers we are on the water from about 11.00am to 4.00pm or later - those with earlier deadlines come ashore earlier but may have only covered one course instead of three. English newspapers have deadlines of around 6.00pm - and time is very tight indeed.

Print and radio media either go on the water - sometimes for the same duration. Others again with tight deadlines stay ashore, watch the live broadcast, maybe get some pre-race comment from the mixed zone, and certainly get post race comment - work that into a race report and they are done - and hit their early deadlines.

Often for print and radio media to miss getting any post race comment means effectively that there is no story - save for a brief comment on the facts of the race. What is too often forgotten is that a single journalist, asking some very basic and tedious and basic questions in a Mixed Zone interview often represents an audience of hundreds of thousands of readers, and often numbered in the millions.

On the right hand side of our table in the media centre sat Bernie Wilson from the US based media conglomerate Associated Press, representing 1,700 newspapers and 5,000 TV and radio stations in 120 countries. What is the size of that audience? Bernie was in Weymouth for the duration, read his portfolio of stories by clicking here

Walking past people like Bernie Wilson, is an opportunity lost, that can never be recovered.

Yachting Australia's new best friend

He may look like one person in the crowd in the Mixed Zone, looking to catch a quote, but Bernie Wilson (foreground) (Associated Press) brings a readership in the millions, if not tens of millions -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Other national authorities have the opposite approach, working their sailors for all they are worth in the Mixed Zone.

It was easy to recognise the Australian sailors in the zone - they usually had media several rows deep around them - and they would talk seemingly forever to an adoring Australian and international media. The imposition, if that's what it is, didn't seem to cost them much on the medal table. The relationship grew stronger as the regatta progressed, and was orgasmic when the medals were won. Why - because they had embraced their media and taken them for the ride - win or lose.

Behind us in the media centre, sat Murray Olds, a drive time host from top Sydney station 2UE. A Kiwi, he left NZ 30 years ago, and has covered 10 Olympic and Commonwealth Games. This was his first time ever at an Olympic Sailing regatta. Murray came down on the train from London ostensibly to cover the first Australian Gold Medal in the sailing - Tom Slingsby, and was due to go back on the train that night.

The way Olds tells it, after talking with Slingsby, he went from pub to pub in Weymouth, until he found a room to let, and stayed for another five days.

Olds was pumping audio clips back to his audience in Sydney, enthusiastically introducing them to his new favorite sport of sailing – using interviews he picked up in the Mixed Zone each day.

Ben Ainslie (GBR) was under enormous media pressure right from the start of the Olympics, and was still able to win his fourth Gold Medal -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
Olds was amongst the last people in the media centre most nights, and on the final day he was still going strong after 9.00pm – and hour after it had officially closed. But hey, Australia had just won a Silver medal, and he had to let his audience and the sailing fans know about it.

Hopefully the Australian sailors went home to enjoy the results of the media and PR spadework that had been done for them, by the journalists who had made the trip to Weymouth – not a cheap exercise with rooms in an average pub costing up to UKP200 per night.

That spadework in the Mixed Zone should pay a handsome dividend for the sailors over the next four years, with their existing and new fans, with their sponsors. Yachting Australia will also be milking their new profile for all it is worth, with their funders and sponsors – all because for five days they embraced their media and fans, and took them along for the ride and shared the Olympic sailing experience.

And of course, when Olds talks to the Olympic class sailors back home – it will be like a friendship renewed – building on the relationship started and built in Weymouth.

2UEs Murray Olds made his way to a pub in Weymouth (second audio from the top - an add-on may be required)

A packed media centre (multiply each head by 100,000 readership average to get the coverage in this room) at Weymouth after Ben Ainslie won his fourth Olympic Gold Medal - the British sailing superstar played to an adoring media all week - despite a tense competitive situation on the water. -  Richard Gladwell   Click Here to view large photo
But miss the opportunity afforded by Weymouth, and it is four years before the Olympics will come around again. General media, and often sailing specific media, can’t cost justify the expense of traveling to a sailing location to provide coverage - and it happens remotely, using stock images and organiser supplied reports - and certainly there are no crowds of waiting media in the mixed zone.

It is trite to claim that sailors need to concentrate on winning medals, and the media is a distraction to that focus.

Look at the way Ben Ainslie worked with his media and home team fans during the build up to the Olympic regatta and the event itself. Same with the rest of the stars in the British team, who built on relationships they had built going back to 2000 Olympics. The Australians, and many others did the same.

Similarly with the New Zealand Rowers – and the profile they have built, massaged and now enjoy.

The end point is that sailors, and their handlers need to ask themselves whether they regard the Media as a Friend or a Foe. In New Zealand it seems to be the latter, in Australia and UK definitely the former.

Next up we will take a look at how television does/doesn't work with the other media.


by Richard Gladwell

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=101902

10:03 PM Sun 9 Sep 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on


Related News Stories:

08 Sep 2012  2012 Paralympics: No racing possible on Final Day
08 Sep 2012  2012 Paralympics: Breeze fails to deliver on Portland Harbour
07 Sep 2012  London Paralympic Games - Fitzgibbon and Tesch receive gold medals
07 Sep 2012  Whang Youn Dai Acheivement Award finalists named
07 Sep 2012  Paralympian Reunion set for Guildhall in London
07 Sep 2012  Paralympics London 2012 - Statement issued on Sonar mishap
07 Sep 2012  Paralympics London 2012 - French and Creignou claim silver
07 Sep 2012  Paralympics London 2012 - British sailors make history + Video
07 Sep 2012  Paralympics London 2012 - Disappointment for Irish sailors
07 Sep 2012  Paralympics London 2012 - Helena Lucas snags gold + Video
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Brian Carlin, On Board Reporter for Team Vestas Wind reports on the delights of using the 'bathroom' while clocking along at 20kts plus in the Southern Ocean. ... [more]  

At the RC44 Oman Cup the 10 competing teams enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Racing started in a seven-knot north-westerly breeze which built steadily throughout the day. ... [more]  

The world’s largest sailing media group, Sail-World.com, held its first continental group meeting at the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) this week. METS is the world’s largest B2B Marine show and this year it had a record 1358 exhibitors and more than 21,000 Marine industry representatives. ... [more]  

At the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 2013 World Champion Florian Gruber is expecting the Open Formula Kiteboarding event to be the, 'strongest fleet this year.' ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Fleet heads into the Southern Ocean + Videos *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
At the latest report, Volvo Ocean Race Control, reported Dongfeng Race Team as being the leader in the second leg to Abu Dhabi. Winds were reported to be 18-25kts, with Team Vestas Wind and Team SCA recording the highest boatspeed of 20kts. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Abu Dhabi - The ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is set to be an 'experience of a lifetime' according to American Women's 470 sailor Briana Provancha. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Source named in Bermuda venue leak *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
San Diego sports journalist, Matt Calkins, has named one of the sources of comment that the 35th America's Cup will be held in the British Oversea Territory of Bermuda. Writing in the San Diego Union Tribune, Calkins claimed that San Diego Tourism Authority CEO, Joe Terzi, had told the U-T. ... [more]  

2014 RC44 Oman Cup - Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Chris Bake’s Team Aqua (GBR) was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score. ... [more]  

Team Vestas Wind’s Rob Salthouse perches perilously on the edge of his bunk, eyes fixed on a well-earned freeze-dried feast, steam snaking up towards his nostrils. ... [more]  

Ensuring a safe fuel supply for America’s 12 million registered boat owners may have to wait, said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the agency will further delay the final rule on how much ethanol refiners must blend into the nation’s gasoline supply under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). ... [more]  

Yates Cup: US supermaxi Rio100 wins first offshore race *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The supermaxi Bakewell-White design, Rio100 (Manouch Moshayedi, USA) has won her first race, sailing in the Yates Cup. She finished at 7.30am on Saturday morning, followed by the Botin 80 Beau Geste 14 minutes later with the Volvo 70 Giacomo 67minutes later. ... [more]  

The wind continued to blow on day four of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to produce another action packed day in New Caledonia, as a further three races for the men and four races for the women were completed in 15-25 knot winds. By the end of the day Ben Van Der Steen headed to the top of the rankings after a near perfect display. ... [more]  

The Oman RC44 Cup delivered another challenging sailing day for the fleet competing in the final event of the 2014 Championship Tour. Consistency was hard to come by and no team managed to stay in the top half of the fleet in all three races. Team Aqua was the most consistent team of the day picking up 11-points, Nika and Charisma both added 12-points to their overall score. ... [more]  

The fast southeast sailing continues in the Volvo Ocean Race but where excitement and adrenaline began—discomfort has taken over. We’re seeing an average of about 25 knots of wind but the sea state is making life somewhat miserable! ... [more]  

To summarize the last 24 hours of the Volvo Ocean Race in one word: change. The weather, the water, the sails, and our bodies are all equally (and rapidly) changing. The first full day at sea, we have experienced what some trips see in a week—if they’re lucky enough. However, that said, change can also be frustrating. ... [more]  

A new and exciting Viper 640 European Event in 2015 has been announced by Rondar Boats Ltd. Lake Garda is one of the great sailing venues and already there are signed up entries from the UK and Australia, with potential entries from the USA. It’s a serious sailing regatta and Italian holiday in one event! ... [more]  

On Monday 17 November, an impressive line-up of speakers at 13th International Sailing Summit shared ideas and best practice from around the world, demonstrating how the sailing industry can change to increase and retain participation, through innovation, technology and cultural changes. British Cycling has seen its membership grow by 567% since 2005. ... [more]  

GC32 Racing Tour: State-of-the-art in catamaran design, the GC32 is attracting considerable interest due to its conceptual similarity to the AC72 and AC62 foiling catamarans pioneered in the America’s Cup. However as the GC32s are smaller one designs with soft sail rigs, they provide both professional teams and private owners with the opportunity to experience airborne catamaran racing. ... [more]  

Designed primarily for single-handed or double-handed racing, the high-performance monohulls have also been a fixture in such East Coast distance races as Newport-to-Bermuda and Marblehead-to-Halifax. Now the Class 40 is coming to the historic Annapolis-to-Newport Race for the first time. ... [more]  

Spectacular performance by Bakewell-White maxi early in first race *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The revamped Bakewell-White supermaxi, Rio 100 (Manouch Moshayedi) turned in an impressive performance in the opening stages of the Yates Cup. Sailing against a variety of benchmarks which included a a Volvo 70, a Botin 80 and an ORMA 60, Rio 100 came from behind to enjoy an impressive lead over the monohulls after 90 minutes of sailing. ... [more]  

As promised the wind arrived on the third day of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup to provide an enthralling day of challenging racing in winds ranging from 10-25 knots. After almost seven hours of racing three eliminations have been completed for the men, whilst four races have been completed for the women. ... [more]  

America's Cup: Team New Zealand responds to Venue rumours *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Emirates Team New Zealand has responded to reports published in Bermuda and mainland USA, that Bermuda has been selected as venue for the 35th America's Cup. In a media release sent mid-afternoon, New Zealand time, Emirates Team NZ CEO Grant Dalton said in response to unconfirmed reports that Bermuda had won the right to host the 35th America’s Cup, that the team had not been told of a decision ... [more]  

Amidst a 10% growth report on having issued over 9000 certificates worldwide in 2014, the recent Annual General Meeting of the Offshore Racing Congress is pleased to announces numerous improvements approved for use in the ORC Rules and policies for 2015. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, Leg 2. Team Alvimedica’s OBR Amory Ross reports on the Leg 2 start and progress. Well, now we know what it feels like to be shot from of a cannon! That was utter insanity. When the gun went I think there was almost no wind at all—two knots or something—but as we slowly crept out from under the shadow of Table Mountain it changed drastically. ... [more]  

The start of Leg 2 offered all the wind conditions you could want. I will not lie: I was pretty nervous to begin leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race (Mom called it ‘Stage Fright’); I think the whole team was pretty nervous. Here we are, having confidently completed the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race—after 27 days at sea! ... [more]  

The ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is set to be 'an experience of a lifetime' according to American Women's 470 sailor Briana Provancha. Some of the world’s top Men’s and Women’s 470 teams will make up the individual fleets with some excellent racing on the cards. ... [more]  

After finishing third in the annual RC44 match race championships, Team Nika seem to have got a taste for the podium. It was a tough day on the water for the start of fleet racing at the RC44 Oman Cup, with many teams struggling for consistency. ... [more]  

St Barth Cata Cup 2014 - Game on! by Dominique Ladouceur
The boats are ready and the sailors have all had a chance to test their catamarans in a very rigorous St-John Bay. The conditions will be windy at the start of this seventh edition of the St-Barth Cata Cup. Sailors will be facing winds from the west at 18 knots with gusts at 22 knots on the first race day. ... [more]  

While more modifications are being mooted for the champion supermaxi yacht Wild Oats XI as part of her preparation for next month’s Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race, a high-profile new member of the team was revealed on Sydney Harbour today. ... [more]  

Wild Oats XI and Audi are ready to give the 2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart a shot! Photos by Andrea Francolini. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Meek's tips pay dividend in Leg 2 squalls and calms *Feature by Bob Fisher, Cape Town, South Africa
The seven competing boats in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 roughly gathered at 6pm local time (1600 Zulu) in a south-easterly wind that peaked at 30-40 knots, which had the local habit of dying away to nothing in places along the shoreline in the lee of Table Mountain. The clever skippers has sought advice from Geoff Meek, a local with a mass of experience ... [more]  

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the Emirate’s entry into the Volvo Ocean Race 2014–15, cast off on the next leg of the epic, round-the-world race on Wednesday evening hoping to complete a hat-trick of victories in the best place possible – the team’s home port of Abu Dhabi. ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day two of the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA event, but the competitors’ patience wasn’t rewarded on this occasion as the wind remained too light for racing. A few sailors were tempted out onto the water, but apart from a few reaches of sporadic planing, the wind wasn’t enough and soon dropped back after showing promise in the early afternoon. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race skippers named as scientific agents
Volvo Ocean Race: Stop-start battle to the Cape of Good Hope
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 starts at high speed in 35kt winds
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA off to gutsy leg 2 start
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Heroes and champions in Nacra 17 fleet
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Talented Finn pack all set
RC44 Oman Cup - Synergy crowned RC44 Match Race Champions
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 start - action replay video from Cape Town
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica on tour in Cape Town
15th Ambassadors Cup - Brazil claims victory
Route du Rhum - Alex Pella first ever Spanish skipper to finish first
SSL Finals 2014 - Star World Champion Stanjek to race with Olesen
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne: Finn fight looming on Port Phillip
Rugby man appointed Chief Executive Officer of Yachting Australia
Welcome back: Congressional Cup Joins Alpari World Match Racing Tour
18ft Skiffs: Smeg's second Red-Line run down Sydney harbour in 40kts *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race: Start Wednesday - Cyclone season awaits Leg 2 fleet
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Opening day in New Caledonia
RORC Transatlantic Race - Competitive fleet ready to race
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 Media Conference - Full replay *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Vestas Wind ready to race   
Volvo Ocean Race: Young sailors get behind ADOR ahead of Leg 2   
18fters: Getting through the 'Death Zone' in a 35kt breeze *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race: Sam Davies speaks openly about the first leg *Feature   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final: Exciting 49er and 49erFX action expected   
America's Cup: Significant changes made to Protocol, but issues remain *Feature   
2014 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - the 70th   
Stoke Beer 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs: Knight Frank lead after 5 races   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - RS:X elite Abu Dhabi bound   
120 boat start line for Tasar Worlds in Busselton   
Melges 24 U.S. Nationals - Full Throttle team grabs their sixth title   
RC44 Oman Cup - Grand final showdown on the horizon   
Visit Doyle Sails New Zealand at METS 2014   
Top Kiwi Finn sailor debuts in the 2014 Star Sailors League Finals   
2014 Butler Cup - Shane Young wins match race regatta   
Adventures of a Sailor Girl: News and interviews from Nov 16 show *Feature   
2014 Melges 24 U.S. National Championship - Moon wind   
Australian 18ft Skiffs: 40kt winds cancel race but Witt sails + Video   
2014 Melges 24 US National Championship - Day 2 images by Joy Dunigan   
Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi are the Kings of Cape Town   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT