For a news aficionado from any village, suburb or metropolis on the planet, London is the place to be right now.
Information overload, but in an enjoyable, even whimsical way, is the name of the game.
However, it’s a treat to observe on a daily basis the way that newspapers — and also the broadcast media in a different way — are competing to produce the best special sections, best (and most witty) headlines, top stories and most comprehensive packages of articles, graphics and information.
It’s a great motivator as one sits down to file stories at all hours of the day.
Getting a chance to observe Britain’s leave-no-angle-uncovered brand of journalism is a great learning tool for any first-time visitor to old London.
Take The Times’ page two editorial on Monday: “Festival of Britishness: Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony was a magnificent triumph of ideas as well as a feast for the eyes.”
“It exemplified a creative, tolerant cultured nation,” The Times pontificated.
Also Monday, the Guardian gets the nod for best sports-related headline, in my humble opinion.
Here it is: “Spain’s tiki-taka condemned to Olympic dustbin after Bengtson’s shock winner for Honduras.”
The same issue had a splendid story introduction on basketball, sizing up the global impact the NBA and the USA Dream Team have made since Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, et al. competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games.
“The Dream Team are in town. The American Dream Team,” Simon Hattenston wrote. “If Arthur Miller was starting out on ‘Death of a Salesman’ now, Biff would not fantasise about being an American football star, it would be basketball and hoop dreams all the way.”
Returning to The Times, there was a moving small news item — “Luminous Beds Given to Tunisia” — that demonstrated that the glamor and excess of the Opening Ceremony isn’t all a waste of resources.
The brief noted that over 300 hospital beds used in Danny Boyle’s production will be donated to Tunisian hospitals. Among the beds, those that were arranged to spell out the acronym GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital) will be in the kind hands of 15 volunteers for three days; during that time, they will get rid of the wiring, batteries and LED bedding.
Finally, a play on words — Beatles tunes continue to stir our collective imaginations, right? — helped The Times make a point on the aforementioned editorial page.
A five-paragraph piece was given this headline “Ticket to Hide.”
You can’t learning everything about a city or the world around us by reading newspapers, but you can certainly glean a wealth of information by paying attention to what’s in a variety of papers.
Such as: “But, best of all, the British Armed Forces are turning into the heroes of the Games,” the editorial concluded. “First they filled in for a security company to ensure that people arrived safely in their seats. Now they will go and sit in the seats themselves. Britain has only the two medals so far but the troops are having a great Olympic Games.
“Putting down the newspapers, including the popular — and free — London Evening Standard, which almost everyone seems to be reading on the train, there’s live Olympic action on display at outdoor venues on big screens throughout the United Kingdom, including Hyde Park and Victoria Park in London.
Twitter bans reporter
Twitter has suspended the account of a Los Angeles-based reporter for a British newspaper who included the email address of the NBC Olympics president and asked his followers to write him to complain about the network’s coverage.
Guy Adams, a correspondent for The Independent, was upset with the network’s decision to broadcast the Opening Ceremony on tape delay when he sent his critical tweet Friday afternoon.
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think!” it read, before going on to provide his corporate email listing.