As the United Nations marks World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, olympic.org takes a look at what some of the graduates of the IOC Young Reporters Programme have achieved in their journalism careers.
The IOC Young Reporters Programme has been giving aspiring journalists the chance to develop and hone their skills at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) since the inaugural edition in Singapore in 2010.
At each edition of the YOG, budding sports reporters from around the world have come together to receive training and mentoring from seasoned Olympic media professionals, with class- and field-based tuition giving participants all the tools they need to work in today’s modern newsrooms.
And the unique experience has proved to be incredibly valuable for the graduates of the programme, with many going on to pursue promising careers in sports journalism. Here, we take a look at what some of the Young Reporters alumni are doing now…
The Australian was part of the inaugural intake of Young Reporters at the YOG Singapore 2010, and since then he has forged a successful career in broadcasting. After working as a radio journalist in Canberra shortly after the YOG, Dufficy then made the move into TV, firstly covering education, health and politics in Canberra before becoming a sports reporter for Channel Nine News in Sydney, where he covers everything from rugby to horse racing.
“I had a fantastic time at the YOG,” says Dufficy. “There is just no substitute for learning from people who have been there and done it before at the Olympic Games.”
Another graduate of the Singapore 2010 programme, May Chen, used her YOG experience to secure a job at The Straits Times, Singapore’s national English daily newspaper. She subsequently spent seven years on the paper’s sports desk, covering several major events including the Olympic Games London 2012 and Rio 2016, the YOG Nanjing 2014, and the 2011 and 2015 editions of the South-East Asian Games. She now works for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. “Apart from it being an extraordinary experience, the Young Reporters Programme was what really gave me a first taste of the Olympic Games,” she says. “It changed my life, because without it I wouldn't have gone into sports reporting as a full-time job after graduation.”
The Argentinian was selected as a Young Reporter for the YOG Nanjing 2014, and was also part of the programme for the Winter YOG Lillehammer 2016. Those experiences allowed her to secure a job with the Argentine Olympic Committee, where she creates web stories and social media content.
“The Young Reporters Programme was a great learning experience,” she says. “It gave me first-hand experience of covering an elite multi-sport event, under the direction of renowned professionals, and was a unique experience for me since it gave me a glimpse of what it is like to work in the Olympic world.”
Rolynda Jonathan used the skills she developed during the Singapore 2010 Young Reporters Programme to find work as a news reporter for the Oceania Television Network in her native Palau, while she also helped establish the Palau Media Council, which aims to advance and protect media freedom in the country and encourage a positive working environment for journalists. She is currently serving as Deputy Press Secretary to the Palau President.
“My experience with the Young Reporters Programme taught me discipline and gave me the tools to pursue a successful career in journalism,” she says. “It provided me with a stronger understanding of the world of sport and opened my eyes to what happens behind the scenes, and the key strategies in covering such a major event.”
A Young Reporter at the YOG Singapore 2010, Ji Ye now works for the Xinhua News Agency in his native China. Since his experience at the YOG, he has covered the Olympic Games London 2012, the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympic Games Rio 2016. He is now specialising in stories on the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. “The YOG Singapore 2010 were the first major sports event I covered in my career,” he says. “Staying in the Youth Olympic Village with young athletes, I witnessed first-hand the magic of the Olympic Games from a very privileged position. I covered judo, diving and football, and was mentored by Lucia Montanarella, Richard Palfreyman, Tracey Holmes, Alan Abrahamson and Peter Charles, who are all enormously experienced journalists. I learned so much from them.”
In addition to the Young Reporters initiative, a new programme for photographers was launched during the YOG Buenos Aires 2018. Australia’s Dylan Burns was part of that first intake, receiving training and mentoring from award-winning sports photographers such as Bob Martin and Nick Didlick. Since then, Burns has been offered a full-time position with the Australian Football League (AFL) – the country’s leading competition for Australian rules football. “It’s a massive honour for me,” he says. “I believe my time in Buenos Aires at the Youth Olympic Games certainly played a big role in me getting this job. It has certainly changed my life.”