Friday, July 18, 2008
The "Leader" usually takes pride in sending outrageous numbers of people to events they aren't airing, but I am shocked (shocked I tell you!) that they are only sending eight to Beijing next month. According to USA Today though, those eight are going to have a hell of a time getting info based on some serious restrictions on content from those not named NBC....
Like ESPN, which will deploy just eight staffers in Beijing — including Jeremy Schaap and George Smith as its only on-air types — trying to see what it can rustle up. It won't be easy. Non-rights holders, even if they can get into official venues such as competition sites — where "mixed zones" allow athletes and media members to mingle — cannot bring in any recording devices — including cameras. The exception is the Games' main press, but their footage or audio cannot be aired live. (And each day, ESPN can only air event highlights after NBC's prime-time coverage ends — and then no more than six minutes on a news show.)With NBC sending over 2900 employees, over 100 announcers and airing over 3600 hours of coverage....this type of guerilla reporting might actually be a welcome change. In the end though, I still don't think that many people care so they might have actually saved some money in large part based on those restrictions.
For ESPN Olympic producer Arty Berko, it's his eighth Games as an outsider. That's meant trying to line up interviews with Olympians in very unofficial venues — in bars, on the street and even alongside a highway at the 2002 Winter Games. At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Berko spotted track star Carl Lewis about to get on an athletes' bus — just as autograph seekers spotted him too. Lewis, says Berko, started to run: "In that moment, my job description was to run and catch the world's fastest man" — which, he says, he actually did.
ESPN forced to work Beijing's backstreets (USA Today)