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Friday, February 19, 2010

Spoiler Alert – This Year’s Olympic Controversy

The world is buzzing with Olympic fever, and the Olympics wouldn’t be the Olympics without a controversy – seemingly underage Chinese gymnasts in 2008 and a skating judging scandal in 2002, to name a few. This year, the controversy involves the media. Some Americans are outraged that other media outlets are reporting event results as they happen instead of after they are broadcast on NBC.

This is a classic example of how the world has changed in the Internet and social media age. During the pre-Internet Olympics, the media – or NBC – controlled the flow of information, and I was forced to wait until just before 10 p.m. to know if Lindsey Vonn won the downhill. Now my phone buzzes with tweets the second she leaves the starting gate.

By refusing to publish results as they happen, NBC is underestimating the savvy of its audience. Even if they find out Shaun White won the halfpipe before it was broadcast on television – which they most likely will, they will still tune in to see the Flying Tomato twist and flip through the air in a true testament to his athletic prowess.

Rather than spoiling the results, media outlets are reporting news as it happens. Isn’t that what we want them to do?

Click here to read more about the controversy.