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23 Sep 2010

We came. We saw. We reported...

...and we left with a greater understanding of journalism.

Twenty-nine young reporters amassed from each continent to form the participants of the Young Reporters Program for a sports reporting stint at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games (YOG) this August.

The young reporters, ages 19-27, spent three weeks covering the inaugural YOG through each journalistic channel – print, TV, radio, photography and online.

I arrived in Singapore a couple days before the Opening Ceremony, ensuing a 17-hour flight from Vancouver, Canada, I had just landed from an Olympic high of my own. I imaged reporting on the YOG would be similar to covering the Games in the Vancouver, where I had been a part of as a Young Reporter just a few months prior. It was not.

It was two completely different worlds, bearing in common only a set of multi-coloured rings. The YOG presented new reporting avenues for the 29 Young Reporters, myself included, that veteran Olympic sports reporters have yet to experience. We were reporting from the inside.

We were granted access to the athletes’ village, a place dubbed as an athletic sanctuary from the press for Olympic athletes. And not only were we reporting from inside the village, we were living there too.

It was a gamble, we were told. Allowing the press, young or not, to report from within the village. The Young Reporters Program, the entire YOG in fact, played out in large as one giant, and often referred to as successful, experiment.

We were reporting on events and competitions unheard of at Olympic Games. One day we'd be out doing a TV reportage on 3-on-3 basketball, then off photographing a group fencing competition where athletes were teamed by continent, afterwards an online piece on gender mixed pentathlon rallies.

We were learning from industry professionals how to write long pieces for print, short scripts for broadcasting and one-liners for social media outlets. It was an August rush of go-go-go. From just making the bus shuttles, to running to mixed zones and yelling out questions, and rushing back to the media work room to file our work by deadline.

I came to Singapore to learn how to be a better sports reporter. I left with having grown as journalist. The special events that set the YOG apart from the Olympic Games, from my stint in Vancouver, was the new perspective and universal message funnelled through the stories of the young athletes.

The young athletes at the YOG, most competing at an Olympic event for the first time, were simply celebrating the fact that they had made it there. We learned through the athletes that there is more to sport than just winning. That there is more to sports reporting than just the standings. It's about people, and their stories.

Kimiya Shokoohi, YOG reporter

Tags YOG
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