“What is it like to cover the Olympics?”
I have heard this question from virtually everyone I know since I came back from Russia three weeks ago.
But before I answer, I generally need to ask a question of my own:
Reporting from the Olympics combines an array of unique experiences for any journalist. On the list:
- covering a massive international event
- corresponding from a foreign country
- working extremely long hours, with zero days off, for nearly a month
In the case of the 2014 Winter Olympics, you can throw a few more items onto the list, such as concerns about security and privacy in what many consider a hostile country.
I documented my experiences through my numerous on-air stories as well as fifteen blog entries from Russia. But I promised I would use this space, soon after I returned, to showcase the viewpoint of someone else.
Enter Dave Schwartz.
The sports anchor and reporter for KARE-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul worked several seats down from me in Sochi, but in some ways he experienced the Winter Games far differently. He covered numerous local athletes and events, where I typically focused on the Olympic atmosphere. He worked with a partner from his station, while I mostly worked by myself.
And on a personal level, Schwartz spent three weeks in Sochi, ten time zones away from his wife and kids.
Schwartz joined me on the latest episode of the Telling The Story podcast.
We ran the gamut of Olympic topics, with Schwartz offering his take on:
- The most impressive part of covering the Games: “It was just so neat to be on the forefront of history — to be the first person disseminating information from an event. I get such a kick out of that.”
- His biggest misconception before arriving: “I don’t think you could ever be prepared until you get into that situation and do it. … They warned me so much, I was prepared that it was gonna be difficult.”
- The blessing and curse of the Olympic spotlight: “You’re trying to do the best work you can … but was it the greatest work of my career? Absolutely not.”
Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.