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Olympics 2.0(08): The ultimate guide to online coverage of the 2008 Games

There have been a number of technological advances in journalism in the four years since the last Summer Olympic Games so this year promises to be a breakthrough in how the Olympics are covered. News organizations, citizen journalists and corporations have been gearing up for some time now to present the best in multimedia, print and online coverage as well as advertising and social networking. Here is some of the best of what to expect:

Blogs

One of my biggest dreams is to attend the Olympics games, but I opted out this year for two reasons 1) I was concerned about the restrictions on journalists and 2) I have a strong aversion to Chinese food. That said, I’ll see you in London in 2012. In the meantime, there are a number of other media and interested parties that will be covering the Olympic Games:

Google also has an interesting way of keeping tabs on the Games. Just enter the name of the event you are interested in plus the word ‘olympics’ in the search field and Google will return a schedule of upcoming events. You can also get updates from a number of Twitter users.

For those journalists reading from Beijing, PopPhoto has some advice for navigating around China and the Olympic atmosphere.

Video


In addition to offering more than extensive coverage of the Olympic Games in the US, NBC will make an additional 2,200 hours of streaming video available online at NBCOlympics.com. On the other side of the world, CCTV.com and Adobe have partnered up to offer more than 5,000 hours of streaming video to mainland China and Macau via CCTVOlympics.com

In countries where NBC doesn’t have exclusive rights to Olympic video, the games will be broadcast online on YouTube. This includes 77 territories in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

US residents who are unable to watch the Games either on television or online have the option of downloading Olympics on the Go, a Tivo-like service that will download selected events straight to their computer. Best of all, the service is free.

Multimedia

The New York Times, that stalwart exemplar of multimedia, has some pretty comprehensive coverage, including two awesome Flash-based interactive projects: Olympic Medal Count Map, which uses expanding circles to illustrate the number of medals won over the years by various countries, and Passing the Torch, a visual history of the Olympic torch.


The Chicago Tribune’s photo gallery “Olympic athletes you can root for” is a compelling look at Olympians who may not be household names. Some of the venues where the athletes compete and visitors will tour, including the Olympic Sports Centre and Tiananmen Square can be viewed in 3D by clicking here.

Print

Text is the foundation of journalism and there have already been a number of feature stories published online that are worth a read.

From BBC News: The Olympic torch’s shadowy past

From Sportingo: The top ten greatest Olympic moments

From mental_floss: What happens to Olympic facilities after the games are over?

From WebUrbanist: 8 Pivotal Olympic Villages And Venues Then And Now

Widgets

    

    

Left to right: USA Today, NBC , Google Gadgets, Widgetbox

Mobile


When you just got can’t make to the television in time to catch your favorite Olympic event, be sure to turn to any of the following mobile sites offering Olympic coverage:

Yahoo!

Sky

NBC

New York Times

Sports Illustrated/SI.com

USA Today

Times Online

Advertising


Coca-Cola wasn’t yet invented at the first Olympic Games, but the beverage corporation and a number of other companies are making up for lost time by plastering their image all over Beijing and the web.

Lenovo, a similarly ubiquitous sponsor of the Olympiad, has put together Voices of the Olympic Games, an online site in which real Olympic athletes share their stories and experiences. Olympians like Peter Lopez, a member of the Peruvian taekwondo team, seem genuinely excited to blog about Beijing, and — good news here — he and others are blogging in their native language.

As Panasonic will gladly tell you, the electronics giant has been sponsoring the Olympic Games for 20 years. This year is, of course, no different. It’s Japanese site offers Olympic-themed video/ads and other goodies like desktop wallpaper. In the U.S., the Panasonic Mobile Tour is already underway. A huge rig equipped with the latest in television technology is traveling around the country to show off the Olympic Games in high definition.

McDonald’s will be feeding many visitors to Beijing in the Olympic Village, and, in some selected countries, will offer its “China Menu” which includes a burger topped with sesame seeds, chop suey and ginger sauce. And finally you can catch Olympians in all their glory in a visually arresting set of ads for Powerade by clicking here (SFW).

You can check out my personal contribution to Olympic fever at Entertainment Weekly. How are you covering the Olympic Games? Or, if you are a fan, how will you be following them? Share your plans in the comments.

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