Friday, February 14, 2014

Whoops. Classic Mistake is Criticizing Things One Has Not Recently Seen, Like Cheesy Olympic Mini-Profiles

If this Washington Post story from six years ago is accurate, NBC's athlete profiles aren't as smarmy as ABC's were. I need to do my homework and watch a weekend's worth of Olympic coverage. Back in 2008, Paul Farhi wrote:

For these Olympics, NBC is getting up close but not quite so personal in the canned profiles and features that appear each night during the Games.

Where once the heavily produced "up-close-and-personal" segments emphasized athletes' hardships and struggles -- impoverished upbringings, triumph over injuries, midnight political defections -- NBC's overall approach this time around is lighter, tighter and slighter.

On Monday night, for example, Russian pole vaulter Irina Isinbayeva got the spotlight with a breezy, minute-long featurette on her taste in fashion and her posh lifestyle in Monte Carlo, Monaco. American gymnast Nastia Liukin and her coach-father, Valeri, later appeared in a piece in which they briefly discussed their Olympic "journey."

Is it true this time around that I can no longer count on a cutaway just before some Yank wins the hornpipe - a lively dance associated with sailors that must be very difficult to perform on ice - to hear about the athlete's dead dog and sick granny who with an arf and a prayer urged her on to glory? Is Olympic success no longer to be framed as suffering and redemption? I had better examine the evidence for an evening or two.

 The joy of Media Studies in general and journalism in particular - the stuff you get paid to do.

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