Seeing Olympics ’08 through photographers’ eyes

[Race is on: Appleton’s Dan Powers, lower right, transmits photos]

Part of a series of posts by Gannett Blog Olympics news analyst Ed Hutcheson, a pen name for one of my long-time readers. Ed, an employee at a GCI paper, will file occasional dispatches about Summer Games coverage. Over to you, Ed!

The images from the Beijing Olympics by Gannetts team of photographers have been terrific. Again, here’s the plan: Deliver coverage of hometown athletes to their newspapers, then let the Associated Press do the rest. Most of the dozen or so photographers are from USA Today, along with Matt Detrich of Indianapolis and Jeff Swinger from Cincinnati. Two of their colleagues are fine shooters from community papers, including The Post-Crescent (left) in Appleton, Wis.

Like his reporting counterparts, Greg Pearson of the The Times of Shreveport, La., has been blogging from Beijing in addition to his assignments. Monday’s post will dash any notion of the Olympics as a glamorous gig. “The past few days have been EXTREMELY busy. I’m now getting between 3-5 hours of sleep a night. I’m ok for now, but I know that when I get home I’ll probably sleep for an entire day! One day I had absolutely no time to eat anything at all. I hadnt showered for two days. My last break in shooting was spent lying on a bed for 30 minutes and taking a quick shower. My clothes need to be washed again. I’ve had no time for shopping for souvenirs for the wife and kid. I bought some postcards, but the problem there is I need to find time to write something down and then mail them! I’m falling asleep on short bus rides.”

I liked Thursday’s gallery from the freestyle wrestling venue (left). Pearson, like the others on the Gannett coverage team, is not shooting just the Americans. The U.S. is in it, but freestyle wrestling is dominated by Eastern Europeans.

Dan Powers of the Post-Crescent also is blogging from Beijing. His paper’s use of Blogger software makes it easier to view a photo blog than the Pluck software so widely used now. Powers’ blog posts are mostly about the technical and logistical aspects of getting just the right shots at the Olympics. That’s not for everyone, but it’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes read — especially as he pursues Michael Phelps at the swimming venue — if you’re at all interested in photography.

I liked Powers’ Aug. 10 gallery from the fencing venue. He’d never covered fencing, and you couldnt tell. He got this shot (above) of U.S. gold medalist Mariel Zagunis after her victory, and then this: “After transmitting all of my photographs and packing up my gear, I ended up sharing a elevator ride with a nice young lady and her two companions. The companions I believe were PR folks. But the young lady just happened to be the gold medal winner, Mariel Zagunis. And as we headed down to the first floor, she pulled out the gold and let me hold it for just a second (she never let go of it . . . I think I got about three fingers on it). I thought that was pretty cool.”

[Image: today’s Post-Crescent, Newseum]

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7 Responses to “Seeing Olympics ’08 through photographers’ eyes”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You can’t tell from the picture, but Powers is playing a killer game of “Bejeweled” there.

    Good guy, good shooter. Now that we don’t have Favre we had to send him someplace interesting…..

    Though if he would have stayed home we might have been able to keep one of the four IC layoffs.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Oh look, the Packers are on your front page. Does anything else EVER happen in Wisconsin?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    At our paper you could pay two reporter’s annual salaries for the price of sending one person to the Olympics. Of course, you could also run the whole newsroom for a decade on Craig Dubow’s bonus.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks “Ed.”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    @8:52 a.m.: Wisconsin readers’ passion for the Packers is such that those papers would be foolish to not put them on the front page the morning after a game — especially a game won by a quarterback not named Brett Favre.

    Anything Packers sells, and the Wisconsin papers have had a knack for developing products that exploit that passion. That might explain some of Green Bay’s reported profit margin of around 40%.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    @9:19 am – Reporters at your paper only make $6k a year? Really? You should get your facts straight. The cost of covering the Olympics is about $10-12K per person for 3 weeks, (which doesn’t come out of the local paper’s budget, btw).

  7. Anonymous Says:

    @6:45am – That $10-12k may not come out of the local paper’s budget, but their hourly wages do. Three weeks of 12+ hour days adds up at time and a half.

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