Life’s a beach…

Mark writes..

It is a hard job but someone has to do it. James and I went to the beach volleyball in search of a story about……well, armed conflict of course. Russia were playing Georgia in a women’s match and it was felt it might be a bit of a story, and our sports correspondent was poolside for Mr Phelps entering Olympic history. So we were asked to go.

It was odd to see Russia v Georgia. In bikinis. On an articial beach. In China. In front of a Mexican wave. And the Georgians are in fact Brazilians. The warm embraces by both teams before the match began weren’t quite matched by the perfunctory hand shakes at the end. Georgia had won coming from a set down, and it was clear that the crowd (almsot entirely Chinese as far as we could see) were on Georgia’s side.

In the mixed zone, James got a word with one of the Russians and asked her about the significance of the match. She said, perhaps a little churlishly, that the “Georgians” (born and trained in Brazil) probably couldn’t tell anyone who their president was.I can help them out a bit there : it is of course President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Glad we’ve cleared that one up.

Afterwards, while filing, we thought we’d just ;let the nearest policeman know what we were doing. We are accredited, we were outside the Olympic zone, and our equipment has all been correctly documented. It was a courtesy to let him know. It took a while to get clearance and several upward referrals but we got the nod. It looks like a message has gone out to help the media.

I wonder what message is being sent out today after the James Ray incident. The IOC faced tough questioning at their press conference this morning about whether they were “embarassed” by the pictures of Mr Ray’s treatment. They stopped short of saying they were but there’s a growing sense that elements of our chums of the 4th estate are going to test this a bit more.

We’re going to have a look at some of the “Protest Parks” today – apparently, the area where people can make their case (after having recieved permission of course) isn’t obvious. In some cases, we’ve heard people syaing they couldn’t find them at all. One park is miles out of town. I’ll let you know how we get on.

Last night’s WHYS was a bold experiment. We asked Suzy and (at short notice) Vivi to present the show. We have in the past asked locals to present chunks of the show, but never all of it. In my view it was a bit rough in places but there were some illuminating moments (the India/China chat for example). Most of you reacted to the content, not the presentation which is a compliment to Suzy and Vivi. WHYS should always be seeking new and better ways to make sure that the programme really belongs to you, not us , and we learned some lessons last night.

Thanks for all your input, your questions, and your understanding.

6 Responses to “Life’s a beach…”

  1. 1 nelsoni
    August 14, 2008 at 10:06

    Hi Mark. Always nice reading your daily updates. Its like looking forward to your favorite newspaper every morning. Issues of press freedom and all the relates to media coverage in China is something that we can’t just wish away. It will always be there. I said yesterday a leopard can not change it’s spot over night.

  2. August 14, 2008 at 10:20

    Thanks Mark for the update. Nelsoni, you are ubiquitous. You have a cutting-edge of skill of spotting topics. China is the news though Georgia and Russia are taking piece of the pie.

  3. 3 Sheikh K. Dukuly
    August 14, 2008 at 10:31

    @ Woman Volleyball. Atleast Russia is not indispensible. They can be beaten at something.

  4. 4 Sheikh K. Dukuly
    August 14, 2008 at 10:34

    @ Nelsoni, you are ubiquitous. You have a cutting edge eyes on issues on the blog.

  5. 5 Sheikh K. Dukuly
    August 14, 2008 at 10:38

    I am not following the olympics that much except to watch Brazil playing. I am told Kobe, Iverson and others were beaten by china. Nelson, can you confirm this?

  6. 6 nelsoni
    August 14, 2008 at 11:24

    @ Sheikh lol. I am a journalist cum diplomat in embryo.

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