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

Team Alvimedica's OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew's progress as they continue to head south in the Volvo Ocean Race. The last week of sailing has been full of tactical decisions as the team decide when to head south and when to turn east towards Cape Town. ... [more]  

Nandor Fa and Marcell Goszleth are the first Hungarian duo to take part in this renowned double handed non-stop sprint around the world. The Barcelona World Race will be the very first real race for Spirit of Hungary, which has been designed and partly built? by Nandor Fa himself. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 20 for the crew. Wow; A bit of a monumental day—both literally and figuratively. Three weeks ago it was the eve of the start my friends took me for one last ice cream and I couldn’t figure out if I was nervous or not nervous. ... [more]  

Talent, passion, ability, success. All qualities that spring to mind with regard to Luke Patience, the 28 year old 470 Class silver medallist from London 2012. SSL is delighted to announce that Luke has now accepted the Star Sailors League invitation to participate in our 2014 Finals, becoming the second UK special guest star, alongside newly-crowned Finn World Champion Giles Scott. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Like in the old English tale of Robin Hood, it’s a case of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That is what we have been seeing over the last few days. More wind just behind the leaders has allowed the middle, poorer pack to catch the rich leaders. ... [more]  

American Windsurfing Tour Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - Today we have all been treated to an incredible spectacle of windsurfing, on the second day of competition at the AWT pro bracket of the Severne Starboard Aloha Classic. ... [more]  

The International Kiteboarding Association’s (IKA) annual general meeting next Tuesday (Nov 4) is likely to debate measures put forward by the Polish Kiteboarding Association (PKA) that would effectively outlaw ram-air kites from the beginning of next year. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Still tight at front as Roaring Forties beckon *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
According to the routing function of Predictwind, the three boats are covered by just 10 miles in terms of distance to be sailed to the finish on their optimum course, more telling is that on the same basis just seven minutes would cover the first and third boats to finish. Sail-World interviewed Team Vestas skipper, Chris Nicholson this morning - he comments in this report. ... [more]  

The Aloha Classic is the longest existing windsurfing wave event (together with Sylt in Germany). 2014 marks 30 years since the very first event and the 25th edition of the Aloha Classic. Let me rewind back to when I was a young journalist, following the evolution of windsurfing, back then windsurfing was called ‘the fastest growing sport’… ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica heads south by Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica
OBR Amory Ross reports on Team Alvimedica’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. It’s wild that after six days of sailing down the coast of South America we finally found ourselves pointed directly at Cape Town (going 16 knots) but all the routing indicates we’re not far enough to the south so down we go! ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. Team SCA coach Brad Jackson gives his thoughts on Leg 1. 'We very much understand what the girls are trying to do and who they are competing against and if they do things well they are right up there in the mix. ... [more]  

Little Traverse Yacht Club (Harbor Springs, Michigan) won the Yacht Club Challenge in the 106th Running of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac. ... [more]  

Want to see 40 great sailing champions in action in stunning Nassau in the Bahamas? The Star Sailors League, an emerging international circuit, is offering the chance to win a four-day holiday for two people with accommodation at the luxury Atlantis resort and water park. ... [more]  

Bidding is now open in the auction to join the Volvo Ocean Race as a part of Team Alvimedica and support heart charities around the world! Team Alvimedica supporters have the unique chance to bid on two experiences that will take place at each stopover throughout the race. ... [more]  

The seventh edition of the St Barth Cata Cup is set to be thrilling. Sixty teams will go head to head aboard the last generation of F18 boats: Hobbie Wild Cat, Nacra Infusion MKII, Cirrus R, Phantom and C2. It is a high-speed, tactical, technical and spectacular discipline! ... [more]  

AWT Severne Starboard Aloha Classic 2014 - The day started early with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, welcoming everyone to the beach and setting the wheels in motion for a fantastic contest. As the ceremony continued the wind started to blow and straight after the skipper's meeting it was straight on with the pro men competition. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - After 19 days of Leg one, the leaders are still within sight of each other, something we don’t think we’ve ever seen at such a stage between Alicante and Cape Town. It’s the ultimate inshore race, staged hundreds of miles offshore. Abu Dhabi, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind are locked against each other with Dongfeng Race Team just 17NM further adrift. ... [more]  

The Taiwan 2014 Kitesurfing Open & Green Tourism Miaoli proved to be an interesting event for the Kiteboard Tour Asia (KTA) to get involved with at the Longfong Fish Harbour beach front in Jhunan. As the KTA had been wanting for some time to bring an event to the renowned high wind shores of Taiwan, which is famous for its windy conditions 300 days a year. ... [more]  

Best possible conditions are expected when 2014 World Championships in ISAF-class Kona One is about to start in Islamorada, Florida on Saturday, November 1. A total of 115 sailors from five continents will line up making it the largest Kona event ever. The outcome is very open with a number of high-profiled sailors with multiple international championship wins in different windsurfing classes. ... [more]  

2015 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - The dates for the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass., have been changed to July 6-10 from the traditional second week in August ... [more]  

'It is no less important to the Commodore as air or water,' said Staff Commodore of the San Diego Yacht Club Chuck Nichols. The Lipton Cup is arguably one of the most iconic regattas in the sailing community. This three-day regatta is an invitation-only event where the best sailors from around the country compete to represent their yacht clubs. ... [more]  

Year in and year out, the U.S. Disabled Championships is one of the most fascinating sailing events in the world. A strong collection of the top sailors in the country are in Galveston, Texas preparing for this week’s three-day championship, which begins Thursday, October 30 and concludes Saturday, November 1. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Team Vestas back-slams both race leaders *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The Chris Nicholson skippered Team Vestas Wind, has made a big gain in the last 12 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race, and is now positioned between the two lead boats. The Danish flagged entry had been positioned to the west of the leaders, who were in the fringe of the St Helena High. ... [more]  

Last night all the American Windsurfing Tour riders, and some of the top PWA sailors, enjoyed a fantastic opening party and registration for the Aloha Classic at Adventure Sports Maui. Food, drinks, photos and lots of chat was the order of the evening, and this morning all with gather again at 9am for the official opening blessing. ... [more]  

Many know Bill Erkelens as a former rigger, team manager for the Maxi Sayonara and subsequently Campaign manager for Oracle Racing during the IACC efforts and a really good sailor with a solid Rolodex of connections in the yacht racing world. When the opportunity to manage a Volvo team arose, Bill did not hesitate, and in late 2013, the Bay Area Native accepted the roles as COO for Team Alvimedica ... [more]  

Team Alvimedica OBR Amory Ross reports on the crew’s progress in the Volvo Ocean Race. Even in the 'straight-line' sailing that has dominated the last portion of the race, the dynamic of our fleet position has been in a state of constant change. ... [more]  

Team SCA OBR Corinna Halloran reports on day 18 for the crew in the Volvo Ocean Race. We are fighting. We are determined. We are focused. Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow down-- we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance. ... [more]  

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) published its 2015 Anti-Doping Code on Wednesday (29 October), which will apply to all Member organisations, Paralympic Games and IPC recognised International Federations, from 1 January 2015. ... [more]  

Sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston hopes to inspire greater French participation in ocean racing through his entry in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. 'France is a nation of sailors with excellent role models; legends in their own right,' said Sir Robin. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - The big news of yesterday was the introduction of an ice gate by Race Director Jack Lloyd. Designed to take away the temptation for the teams to dive deep south in the search for better pressure and a better angle to Cape Town. The Ice Gate is placed at 42 deg South between 20W and 10W, seen on the screenshot below. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up until now the comment from the boats to the east has been that Team Vestas Wind had made a bad move by digging west. But now, with the high pressure to the east expanding, perhaps Wouter on the Danish boat has read the future a little better and has set his team up for a comeback. ... [more]  

Optimist World Championship 2014 - Six races were made last week and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each fleet has 70 sailors. This first part of this championship had light winds, lot of current and little waves but today it changed completely: The wind gauge marked 23 Knots on the race area, the waves were high and short. ... [more]  

2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have finally given ground to Team Brunel after almost exactly a week at the head of the fleet but the new leaders’ thin advantage may well be very short-lived as the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 1 turned into a game of hunt-the-breeze. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Ice Gate laid in Southern Ocean on Leg 1 *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race - Reality for Team Vestas Wind
Volvo Ocean Race: Straight-line progress continues for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA entering the Southern Ocean + Video
Comanche ocean trials in Newport + Video
La Torche PWA Grand Slam - Title race thrown wide open
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards one week away
Clipper Race - Is this the toughest job on the ocean?
PIC Coastal Classic Roundup: Almost 30 minutes slashed off record
America's Cup: Artemis Racing signs seventh Olympic Gold medalist
Pieces in place for the 2015 GC32 Racing Tour
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Behind the numbers
Volvo Ocean Race: Front runners open gap for Cape Town *Feature
AWT - PWA Finale 2014: Severne Starboard Aloha Classic - One day to go
2014 International Masters Regatta - Augie Diaz takes the trophy
Volvo Ocean Race - Supreme sailing for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA, united by one
A big shift for Pumpkin Pursuit in Richmond
ISAF Annual Conference to take place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report: October 27, 1700 UTC
Oakcliff Ocean Racing Team to race RORC Transatlantic Race   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - The search for skippers is on   
China Cup Int'l Regatta - Windier weather brings victory for Vanke   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Stena Sailing Team wins in Bermuda   
GC 32 Foiling Cat Argo sets Mount Gay Rum Around Jamestown Record   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15: Latest position report, October 27, 0630 UTC   
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds - Going out with a bang! + Video   
2015 Flying Dutchman World Championships - Winners will be Grinners!   
RenaissanceRe Junior Gold Cup - Denmark’s Christian Spodsberg wins   
Argo Group Gold Cup 2014 - Berntsson joins sailing’s elite   
Sand Flies versus Foiling Moths - Moth World Championship 2015 *Feature   
2015 International 14 World Championship - Frasch leads German team   
Ian Williams and GAC Pindar set up an exciting AWMRT finale   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg one – South Atlantic tactics   
Volvo Ocean Race: Steady run to the finish at Cape Town   
18ft Skiffs: Club Championship - Race one   
2014 Optimist World Championship - Race started with a clear day   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Fernando de Noronha   
2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - The longest route   
Argo Group Gold Cup - Semi Final matches set for Sunday   


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