International Olympic Committee Allows Beijing Athletes To Blog

The International Olympic Committee has ruled that athletes at the Beijing Olympics will be allowed to write about their experiences during the games.

They’re referring specifically to blogs. If you’re not familiar with blogs, in this context they’re essentially journals that are available on the web.

According to the BBC, this is the first time the committee has allowed blogging by participants.

A couple of things to note:

  • Pictures and video of the games are banned from the blogs to prevent copyright infringement.

I guess I can understand this – the committee sells the media rights to the games, and wants to protect its income from these sources.

  • The committee "considers blogging… as a legitimate form of personal expression and not a form of journalism."

I’m not so sure about this one. The committee is definitely on track when it comes to viewing websites as a form of personal expression, but "…not a form of journalism?"

It’s pretty clear by this point that blogs can be a perfectly legitimate form of journalism. It’s not traditional journalism, for sure, but anyone who follows the online space knows that blogs are becoming a greater big threat to the traditional media (if they aren’t already).

A quick web search of "blogs as journalism" produces over two million results. One of the "scholarly articles" at the top of the search results, from 2003, is entitled Weblogs Threaten and Inform Traditional Journalism:

Blogs are quickly becoming a very influential media tool, one that can challenge conventional notions of who is a journalist and what journalism is.

This was from five years ago.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this. I mean, I don’t consider this site to be journalism. This site is more about my personal commentary and thoughts on my area of interest. Perhaps this wording was the only way that progressive members on the committee could convince others that they should allow blogging at the games. Who knows, maybe without this the participants would have to register as journalists or some other nonsense.

Still, I’d like to see the International Olympic Committee acknowledge the important role that blogging plays in today’s media landscape.

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.