OLYMPIC NEWS ANALYSIS

Watching the Olympics truly is an event that cannot be missed.  Only once every four years do we get to see the World’s best athletes compete in an array of challenging sports for the title of gold, silver, or bronze medal.  Last night a couple amazing events took place among which was that of downhill skier Lindsey Vonn.  Despite her shin bruise injury, Vonn became the first American woman to win the Olympic Downhill yesterday.  What I feel is so interesting about the Olympics is that though there is such a sense of National pride during these game weeks, there is also a lot of respect for competitors of other countries.  As I said, this is a special time where people can see the best athletes of the world in the same place at the same time competing.  So even if athletes form your country does not necessarily win an event or race, there is still good coverage of the entire games.

I watched the Olympics last evening, airing at 8pm on NBC 17 in Raleigh, NC.  Furthermore, I caught Lindsey Vonn’s incredible race to win the gold medal.  I was very interested to see how NBC covered her story and so I also looked at stories from the local, nation, and international level also pulling a radio report and television report about the event.  What was most interesting about these stories was the facts of the stories were generally the same.  Usually with news people are subjected to different viewpoints or biases depending on the place or conditions under which the news is being relayed to the public.  What is different though is the Olympics are being publicly displayed to the entire world via Television, Radio, and Web.  Therefore a much larger amount of viewers are being able to see and hear first hand what events are taking place as they are taking place.  Because more people get a first hand look, there is less room for biases to take place or skewed views to be implanted on people reading or watching or hearing the news.  Therefore, from local to international, the news on Lindsay Vonn winning the gold medal was interestingly enough mostly the same factual information without extremely noticeable biases or partial takes on the matter.

I have provided all the news articles, videos, radio for you to take a look yourself.

Local News: http://www.newsobserver.com/olympics/story/344718.html

National News: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/vancouver/2010-02-18-medal-haul_N.htm

International News: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/vonn-white-cement-superstar-status-at-problemhit-games-20100218-ofdv.html

Radio News: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2010/02/lindsey_vonn_redacted.shtml

Television News: http://insidetv.aol.com/2010/02/18/lindsey-vonn-shaun-white-score-gold-medals-olympics-video/

All the above stories talk about Lindsay winning the Gold.  They note the event and place it took place, the downhill race in Vancouver for the Olympic Games. They all say something along the lines of Lindsey’s incredible feat yesterday of becoming the first American woman to win the Olympic gold medal in the downhill race.  They all note to some degree her level of Excellency and proficiency in the sport. And they all note in some way the despite her shin injury she was able to still be the best above all the rest, which is pretty amazing.  Though there are not many facts.

Because this news story is based of a World viewed event, most of the same quotes are used in each of the stories.  This story is a brand new one and therefore there is only but so much to report on.  Lindsey has some key comments that were used in all the stories because it highlighted her experience after her race, such as “This is everything I’ve wanted and hoped for” – Vonn. Some stories did use different quotes or did not use any at all because of either the constraints of the type of news or just to provide more insight.  I felt that the national and international news were the most descriptive with their quotes, because they are the ones covering for their nations and therefore want to highlight all aspects of these world games whether it be an athlete form their nation or another.  I do not think beyond that there was much purposeful thought into what quotes were chosen, because again this even is viewed by the world.  It is a positive and fun event to watch all over the world, and since a very large amount of the World is able to access this news in some way, shape, or form I think that there is a consistency among reporters regaling the events that took or are taking place.

Though the base of the stories were the same it is important to take a more specific look to see how and if they different depending on circumstance of how the news was delivered and depending on where and when the news was being delivered.

Looking at the local News, their angle was really to highlight the overall US performance on day six of the Olympics with the title “US has near-perfect day with 6 medals, 3 gold.”  This helped put a slant on how the lead was going to go for Vonn’s story.  Their lead basically elaborated on the day six US performance, noting that these six medals won made US history as the most medals won in a day by a US team in the Winter Olympic.  This lead allows for elaboration of the six medal recipients including a focus on Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal performance.  Since this is the local news medium, which is not local to the story, this medium requires that they extract news from a more national and international level where the event is taking place in order to construct the story.  Based on the stories title I do not think there is much bias here.  Though it seems to be a very Nationally bias and proud article about the day six Olympic games outcome, the title shows the article is only discussing the US outcomes, so I do not think it is biased that this article does so.  The sources used in this story are mostly from interviews, or relaying of national news seen on TV reported during the Olympic games yesterday. This method of storytelling fits the local audience, because the local audience may be looking for a more general and overall result of the Olympic games.  This article provides an overview of the important highlights, which some may have missed.  I feel this is appropriate for a local audience who may or may not be interested in the subject, and if they are they can seek out news that’s purpose is to highlight these events in detail.

The National News angle is similar to the local but definitely more descriptive.  Their angle is the same “A six-pack of American medals.”  They too highlight the overall grandeur of the sixth day at the Olympics.  The fact that this is a national newspaper makes it clear why they would include more quotes and input from the event than the local.  Their medium’s purpose is to shape national news for the American public, therefore they are reporting with a more national bias.  I think that there is proper national bias here, because the Americans had a wonderful day in the Olympics, therefore again I do think the bias is appropriate especially according to the title of the article.  The evaluative language in this story is really just highlighted through quoting Lindsey after her race.  Using “Lindsay says…” and such phrases along those lines evaluate the story to show the passion and the emotion of how proud she is and therefore we should be of her accomplishment.  The sources for this story are quotes from Lindsey herself and news of reporters that were there live to witness or get information about the event.  I think this method of storytelling fits the audience, because this article takes the national approach.  Since it is a national paper, and we are representing the US in the Olympics as a nation it is important that they highlight the events from a national standpoint.

The television story highlights the actual event of Lindsey Vonn’s Olympic race and outcome.  This story’s angle is more focused on Lindsey Vonn and a fellow gold medalist – “Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White Score Gold at the Olympics.”  Lead is determined by the information they have in the video, which shows the highlight of Lindsey’s race yesterday.  Being that the medium is television, the story can be more present with clips showing what really happened.  Also there is less commentary, because viewers are seeing the action take place, so there does not need to be as much description about the event.  There is not real bias in this television story, just a recount of two of the gold medalists from yesterdays events.  The evaluative language is evident in this story when the announcer’s voices change with excitement, as Lindsey gets closer to the finish line and then when we hear Lindsay screaming for joy after winning the race.  The sources used are live footage of the event, including some background of news that has been acquired from interviews over the past few weeks with Lindsey.  I think this method of storytelling is great for television.  Clips of events taking place are important for a straightforward coverage of a story in order to get the point across.

The Radio news was pulled from a Minnesota radio Station where Lindsey Vonn is from.  The angle is “Lindsey Vonn.”  The lead is determined form direct report of the event right after it occurred at the Olympic games.  This reporter was reporting the event outcomes before the games were to appear on live Television.  Therefore, there was no exhibition of quotes from Lindsey, or a long story.  Rather just a short account that Lindsey did indeed win the gold medal for downhill.  I feel that there is bias for this reporting, because the reporter does so before the appropriate time.  Thought the event had taken place, it was not “nationally” viewed at this point and therefore I feel there is local bias there.  The reporter announced to his local Minnesota folks that Lindsey did win the gold medal, and I feel that he just wanted Lindsey’s fellow Minnesota fans to be able to hear the news first since that is her hometown. There is not a lot of evaluative language in this story except for the reporter’s excitement to the news that he is reporting.  The sources for this story are first hand experience; the reporter was there at the games reporting to the Radio station.  This method of storytelling was short and sweet.  Radio must get to the point because it is so constrained unlike the news and television.  Therefore in order to discuss a topic the highlights must be pointed out immediately, which is this cause they were.

The international news story is form a paper out of Sydney, Australia.  Their angle was “Vonn, White cement superstar status at problem-hit Games.”  This newspaper highlighted Vonn’s accomplishments but their angle was a bit different.  Rather then just talking of the successes of the day, they also recounted the many injuries and mishaps that occurred.  Therefore the lead was determines more by the overall outcome of both good and bad and not just the US winnings.  There is not really a clear bias in this story.  I feel that this paper gives wonderful credit to the Americans and the gold-medalists in particular without question.  The evaluative language as with most of these stories is similar.  Referencing Lindsey Vonn herself and how she felt about her race was how the story got its emotional shape.  The sources here again are mostly from Lindsey herself and from reports live from the Games themselves.  This method of storytelling is important for an international audience, because this story highlights the overall outcome for more then just the US country.  This story highlights the athletes as individuals and how each did, and it also highlights how there were some injuries with other athletes from other countries.  I feel that this article produced a sound view of the entire day as a whole for readers.

Overall, as I already stated, I feel that events that are so nationally captured have less room for error, bias, or distortion.  So news coverage over something like the Olympic games and even an American athlete will be covered in a fairly even manner across the board or different news mediums.

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