Daily Archives: August 2, 2012

“Don’t Tell Me the Results: I’m Watching it Later!”

Gathering around the television to watch the 30th Summer Olympics in picturesque London has made more than a few viewers uneasy in the United States. The reason surprisingly has virtually nothing to do with the roman numeral representation of the Olympics (XXX), but something much more frustrating and yet, at the same time, oddly ironic to the roman numerals: exposure. There is too much exposure of the Olympics. Why? I’m glad you asked.

The Problem: Just like the athletes, news organizations, and seemingly any website designed for daily views, simply have to be first in reporting. The public needs to know that they will provide breaking news the second, not minute, it happens. This can be particularly helpful with advertising revenues and that whole “making money” thing (it can backfire though: remember CNN & Obamacare). As a result of them ‘winning’ the breaking news contest with their competitors with the action from across the pond, the viewer is consequentially losing.

Five hours. This is the shortest time difference between London and the United States, and events are being competed in real time in London throughout the day. Major news outlets, like NBC (the host network), constantly update their online websites in the 24-hour news cycle world (for better and certainly worse). NBC has taken it upon themselves to publish and report on what is happening live overseas to their loyal online stopper-by who may just be visiting to check on the nations and worlds headlines sans the Olympics. How unnecessarily painful this routine has become.

Obviously, NBC would not spoil the results for one of the largest audiences of any program they produce (cough cough Missy Franklin). I suppose it’s no big deal except that most people like to settle-in at night and watch the extended coverage of the days competitions, in whatever tickles their fancy. And they want to do this without knowing results. But be warned that just two seconds after typing “nbcnews.com” and hitting enter, the days anticipation of watching a marquee swim or gymnastics final can and will be ruined. The reason? Impatience, and quite frankly, incompetence.

The Solution: If someone would like to know the daily events, everything but the Olympic results, then I have a super messy and controversial idea that is sure to spur questions of “how?” and “are you insane?” Here it is: Create a tab at the top of the page of the website and title it “Olympic Results and Video: Spoilers Included.” This will in no way impact the rest of the news on the homepage and will not reveal any results because all of the information and video will be available by clicking on the new tab, which would be clearly designed and labeled as such. That’s it. Just create a link to “nbcolympics.com” on NBC News’ homepage and refrain from publishing results on that regular news page. It would take an elite programmer from Silicon Valley, but I think it can be done.

We live in a world of 24-hours news coverage, whether we want it or need it. As a result, we can literally get exciting headlines at a moments notice. However, there are occasions when people would like to read a story slowly and not just the eye-catching headline. Yes, it takes longer, but in the end we will discover the whole story and understand why the headline was so thrilling to see at first glance. It’s an old school approach, but there is a reward to this method.

As the saying goes, “patience is a virtue.” There was no better example of that than when McKayla Maroney absolutely nailed her vaulting routine Tuesday night that sprung the U.S. women’s gymnastics team toward their first team gold medal since 1996 and only the second team gold medal ever. Words almost cannot describe what she did in the air, except for maybe perfection and beauty. Those five gymnasts had the meets of their lives and to watch each of them contribute to the team with their individual talents was incredible and inspiring. Their smiles became infectious. You felt nervous and anxious for them before and ecstatic for them afterwards. For the first time in nearly a decade, NBC had Must-See-TV. It was amazing!

mckayla maroney vaultNBC

There is a difference between reading greatness and seeing greatness. All it takes is a little patience.