Olympics: World news or gossip?


The Olympics are at the forefront of today’s world news. However, there are moments when I question the priority of news reporters.

The other day, I went on CNN and the first thing I saw was U.S. ice skater Ashley Wagner’s face of disappointment at her score.

There are many things about the Olympics to report on that hold a lot of significance — the condition of Sochi as a city to host such a big event, human rights problems in Russia, countries’ relative numbers of medals — but, in my view, an athlete’s lack of composition in such an intense moment is not worthy of the front page of such a major world news website.

In my opinion, to place a picture of the face of disappointment as one of the ‘five favorite moments from the first weekend of the Olympics’ is a cruel joke. The article drew just as much attention to a few seconds of infuriated disappointment as it did to Russia winning its first gold medal in the games and total medals won after the first weekend.

To be fair, the article featured Jamie Anderson’s (American gold medalist) tweet about her gratitude to friends and family after her great performance. Although this is another example of social media appearing in the world news, at least it’s fitting under the category of “favorite moments.” Amy Wagner’s face was not on this list because it was endearing, it was because it was scandalous.

Do we really find scandals so important that they should be put in newspapers? Are we looking for ways to interest the public in the 2014 Olympics? Are we just fixated on having a list of five that the reporters felt inclined to place this example in with the rest?

The second question can be answered with a simple “no,” as the first sub-headline of the report, the first example, was “That face.” This was the first topic presented to the audience.

I urge reporters to at least think about the first two questions before they choose topics. When presented side-by-side, news transfer a sense of importance. An important event may elevate another’s importance, even if the latter doesn’t attract that much on its own. On the other hand, something like gossip in world news could end up downplaying an event that makes a difference.

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