The view from London: Countdown to the Games is on

The build-up has been long, and so has the planning. But with just under two months to go until the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in East London, the deadlines are looming.

As I gather, most newsrooms have planned their coverage, and budgeted their financial requirements. At the Daily Telegraph, my old stomping ground, the wheels were set in motion last June. Commercial interests, print and digital packages outlined, reporters from various sections commissioned and stationed. Freelancers groomed and projects initiated.

Online, published their build-up package with one year to go. This link will take you to their Olympic portal where news, features, schedules and even guides sit. It is here that the infographic guides, all 72 infographics if I recall, can be located. And what a labor of love of these babies. Blood, sweat and tears, well almost. Maybe hard-earned glasses of Sauvignon Blanc replaced the tears, but the relief in reaching ‘delivery base camp’ was euphoric. The one-year-to-go finishing line.

And here we are with a little less than two months until the big moment. The Times have been producing some excellent coverage across all platforms. I’ve been following their coverage on iPad app “Your essential guide” #myolympics which is a rather jolly roundup of news, interviews, and guide to the torch route. It is this coverage of the torch route that pushes the boundary of conventional journalism. Which I like.

The screenshot shows what to eat, property to buy on the Isle of Man. My point being that The Times have transcended conventional thought and published “content for all” — not just for the sporting type. The look is crisp and clean, and designed for “eyes and fingers” of the tablet-age.

The large infographic event-guide features weekly in print, online and on the iPad app. There is a splendid interactive for every sport, which follow a clean template. Cool colors soothe rather than dominate. Of course infographics and interactives are very often a publishers’ showcase where enormous “heat” is invariably directed toward the graphics department in every newsroom. But in London, the mood is confident. Catherine Levett, Graphics Editor for the Independent on Sunday, the sister newspaper to Independent and the Evening Standard, is looking forward to publishing her departments’ hard work “we are planning some very exciting olympic coverage. To kick things off we will be launching our first ever series of interactive graphics that will (I hope) surprise and delight our viewers accross and” And what a time to produce innovative work.

But is the excitement of the viewing and reading what the competition are publishing which is prompting Levett to push the envelope. For London in this year of “events of all events” she says “The UK press coverage of the Olympic build up this year has been nothing short of outstanding, particularly The Telegraph’s and The Times’ online coverage. Fabulous work!”

Amen to that, and as The Clash proclaimed with their iconoclastic song in 1979 “London Calling” — this great city is indeed on song.

Michael Agar is the SND regional director for the city of London, and for the entire UK.

Check out for more coverage of the London Games.

Leave a Reply