Which Country “Won” the Olympics?
AbstractI spent two months this summer in Beijing. Our university had the great fortune to be one of six U.S. colleges and universities chosen to provide student “interns” for the Olympics. Our students worked as flash quote reporters, getting quotes immediately after the competitions from athletes and making those quotes available through Olympic News Services. By being in Beijing, I was able to observe lots of reporters working in lots of media systems. Because one of the missions of this journal is to share with our brethren still working daily in the media ways in which we think they could do their jobs better, please allow me to make a few observations about how media outlets keep up with the Olympic medal count. Not surprisingly, CCTV (China Central Television) and NBC do it differently, and long after the Olympics are over, the battle about which country can rightfully claim medal supremacy will rage on. In China, and most of the rest of the world, that determination is based on the number of gold medals won. In the United States, it's based on the total number of medals. Both approaches are fundamentally flawed. To count only gold medals makes