Working for the Sky during the Olympics has got to be one of the weirdest experiences of my journalistic career so far and not just because it’s only one of the biggest sporting events ever and just, y’know, that massive news powerhouse that is Sky News. Even with my own meagre experience of filming for television, it has always been a case of find a story and asking yourself “do these pictures work?” Pictures are paramount to television news; who’s going to sit watch and watch the same voice simply read a couple of headlines over and over again, only to be intercepted by some dullish men in suits saying equally dull things. They really do make or break a story; things that barely get a look in on radio are instantly bumped up the running order due to amazing footage and vitally important updates are glided over when there’s truly no hope of a good visual; hence the trouble in covering the EU financial crisis.
And whilst you make the think the Olympics poses little problem, with every possible coverage right afforded to the BBC, Sky is faced with a massive conundrum; how to keep the viewers watching when you can’t show ANY footage of the events at all. And it’s not like the Olympics is one of those things you can just shunt off to the side. It’s an exceptionally weird feeling to be sat in a Sky newsroom watching almost the entire room huddled around a screen with the BBC on. Yet whilst many reporters, including myself on occasion, have sat and bemoaned some of the more ridiculous regulations around the event, I think there could actually be some good to come of it. I’ve spent pretty much the entirety of the last two days, along with the rest of the team at Sky, chasing alternative locations, different guests and brainstorming creatively to try and achieve the best possible output with what we’ve got. Whilst I’m not for a minute suggesting that our coverage wouldn’t immensely improve if we were to have some live shots or that things won’t instantly change back after the games, I can’t help but think this catalyst for creativity must surely be bringing some good for the broadcasting future.
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