2012 Olympics

The latest news about: Guy Adams’ Twitter suspension and reinstatement; NBC’s woes.

People are watching tape-delayed Olympics even when they know who won

All Things D | paidContent
The cognitive dissonance of the Olympics — our conflicting desires to know immediately who won vs. the desire to sit together at night and watch the competitions — doesn’t seem to be hurting NBC. Not only are TV ratings well above the 2008 Olympics, but it turns out that people are watching the Games at night even when they know what happened.

Peter Kafka reports:

On Sunday, 43 percent of Americans said they had heard about some of the Games’ results over the Web before they saw them on TV. But NBC argues that this turns out to be just fine: 67 percent of people who knew about the results said they would watch, anyway — more than people who hadn’t heard about the Games.

On Saturday night, people who had watched livestreamed events that day were twice as likely to watch parts of the same events on the prime-time tape delay.

I can vouch for this. When I opened the NBC iPad app Wednesday night, eager to see something other than swimming or gymnastics, my wife insisted that we watch the replay of the women’s gymnastics team winning the gold medal on Tuesday, even though we had watched it the night before. I consented, of course, but first I watched a riveting display of athleticism called “Bodies in Motion on the Beach.” Read more


One lesson from the Guy Adams mess: Twitter needs clear rules

The Independent | BuzzFeed | First Amendment Center | The New York Times | Pew | Los Angeles Times | Streaming Media | AdAge | All Things D
Guy Adams has only been a First Amendment hero for a few days, and already he has a career highlight: A CNN producer cautioning him against comparing himself to Nelson Mandela when Twitter reinstated his account Tuesday. Adams lost his tweeting privileges after he broadcast the work email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel Friday; NBC confirmed it had filed a complaint about the tweet after Twitter alerted the network to its existence, an action Twitter apologized for Tuesday.

Adams focuses less on Twitter’s complicity than on the inconsistency with which it applied its rules, repeating his contention that Zenkel’s email was easily found on the Internet. (That’s a stretch, Search Engine Land Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan wrote Tuesday.) He lists several times the microblogging service didn’t act: MIA tweeting Lynne Hirschberg’s phone number, Spike Lee tweeting the wrong address for George Zimmerman.

But as Matt Buchanan writes in BuzzFeed, Twitter acts only when it receives a complaint. Twitter General Counsel Alex McGillivray reiterated in an apology to Adams that the social network “should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is.” That’s why it apologized for narcing out Adams to NBC but not for suspending him.

It wants the precedent that this has set — monitoring a tweet and then acting upon a violation — to be erased, because it wants never to have that responsibility on its hands, no matter who asks, whether it’s a celebrity or corporate partner, or perhaps more crucially, the government.

The not-totally-clear question of whether Zenkel’s email was easily available, Buchanan writes, suggests Twitter should update its rules to “reflect whatever rules it will follow, even if it is, ‘We reserve the right to do whatever we want.’ ” Read more


Guy Adams’ Twitter suspension lifted as NBC withdraws complaint

Sports Business Daily | The Independent | The Wall Street Journal
After a two-day suspension of his Twitter account, Guy Adams tweeted Tuesday afternoon:

Twitter suspended the NBC Olympics critic, a journalist for the British newspaper The Independent, this weekend based on a complaint from NBC that Adams had tweeted the email address of a network executive. NBC vice president for communications Chris McCloskey said Twitter alerted the network, its partner for the Olympic games, to Adams’ tweets. Soon after the complaint, Adams was suspended.

Adams quotes an email from Twitter today that says, “We have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request … Therefore your account has been unsuspended.”

An unnamed NBC spokesman gave The Wall Street Journal this explanation today: “Our interest was in protecting our executive, not suspending the user from Twitter. We didn’t initially understand the repercussions of our complaint, but now that we do, we have rescinded it.” Read more


NBC exec says Twitter alerted it to journalist’s critical Olympics tweets

The Telegraph | The Independent | The New York Times | AP
In an email to the U.K.’s Telegraph, NBC vice president for communications Chris McCloskey said Twitter flagged Guy Adams’ critical tweets about the network’s Olympics coverage to NBC’s social media department, writes Amy Willis.

“Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it,” he wrote.

On Monday, NBC confirmed it had filed a complaint against Adams, whose account was suspended after he tweeted the work email address of NBC’s president of Olympics coverage, Gary Zenkel. In an email to Poynter, McCloskey (whose email address is available publicly) said the network had “nothing further to add.” He included NBC’s original statement:

“We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.”

Twitter declined comment to The Telegraph and The Guardian, whose Josh Halliday noted the microblogging service has a partnership with NBC during the games. Read more

Michael Johnson

For AP, Olympics are the Olympics of news coverage

The Associated Press announced its 2012 Olympics coverage plan Thursday, and as you might expect it’s expansive: text packages and updates posted throughout the day, medal counts on its AP Mobile apps, interactive presentations viewable on a number of devices, and tons of photos and video.

The coverage shows the growing importance of sports coverage to the AP and its belief that sports are not just games that happen on a field, but events that tie together millions of disparate people and overlap with geopolitics, entertainment and culture.

The Olympics already has those elements. Thursday morning, for instance, the International Olympic Committee announced that Saudi Arabia will send two female athletes to the games for the first time.

“There is a recognition that sports touch everyone and there is revenue to be earned,” said Lou Ferrara, AP’s managing editor for sports, entertainment and interactive.

The AP isn’t the only news outlet to exploit the seemingly endless appetite for sports news. Gannett has put all of its sports coverage into a single “super vertical” — USA Today Sports Media Group — that includes USA Today, US Presswire, its community newspapers and television stations. It also recently created a digital group for its various online sports properties.

But the AP’s approach is an interesting contrast to the narrow, deep trend of online sports coverage, which trades in micro-news, commentary and inside information aimed at diehard fans who will vacuum up everything in sight.

In May, then-CEO Tom Curley gave a speech calling on news organizations to capitalize in the growing worldwide interest in sports.

Embrace sport and its role in global society. … In too many shops, the sports team is isolated. Sports today is the boom business, and it deserves to be treated as such. Give them the resources and new product development support they need to grow. Don’t leave all the fun of innovation to startups. The U.S. networks are showing some leadership here with NBCU and soon Fox responding to the ESPN phenomenon. There are hundreds more opportunities being created these days.

In coordination with his speech, AP’s corporate communications office released a video highlighting the growing international importance of sports. “Sports are big business,” it declared, bolstered by a raft of figures.

The video noted that more than 4.7 billion people watched some part of the Beijing Olympics, and that figure is expected to be higher with the proliferation of mobile devices since then. (The iPhone 3G was just a month old during the Beijing Olympics.)

The global market is the largest reason for the AP’s focus on sports, Ferrara said. About one-third of the AP’s revenue comes from outside the U.S., said AP spokesman Paul Colford. The overall trend is stable, “with growth in Asia and Latin America especially strong.”

The AP’s approach has not been to increase its sports staff, Ferrara said by email.

Instead, we have refocused our energies on sports as a subject that goes far beyond the playing field, pulling in staff from across the AP, when necessary, to cover sports in all of its dimensions. For instance, today’s Penn State report is arguably one of the top stories in the world — one of the most searched topics last year. Tiger Woods and other athletes transcend the sports pages, as do the tales that will play out in Russia and Brazil in relation to their Olympics and World Cups. The recent protests in Bahrain ended up intersecting with a large Formula 1 race, and the government denied some journalists entry into the country.

All of these stories are about sports, but they’re also about general news, and staffers across the AP have contributed to a quality of coverage unmatched by others. It’s pretty clear that for anyone involved in sports coverage that we need to look well beyond what happens on the track, the field or the pitch.

It’s interesting that as the AP is emphasizing its coverage, it’s not sending as many people to the games. This year the news outlet has 227 people credentialed for the Olympics, Ferrara said, which is 11 percent smaller than its team in 2008. That’s partly due to the fact that the AP already has a larger staff in London. But it’s also because more of its interactive and graphics staff can work remotely.

Ferrara said they’ll evaluate staffing as they prepare for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, 18 months after the closing ceremonies in London.

Related: NBC News makes Facebook the preferred “second screen” for the television broadcast (TechCrunch) | Could London’s drizzle influence journalists to write negative stories during the Olympics? (Phys.org) | How the Olympics and Twitter will influence each other (Grow) | USA Today to rely on US Presswire photographers for Olympics coverage (JimRomenesko.com) Read more


Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.

Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:
Page 2 of 212