"We do news...and wins and losses are news."
That's the kind of declaration I've come to know -- and love -- from MPR news director Mike Edgerly. Subject? Giving Olympic results before you have a chance to watch them on TV.
Usually, the Olympics are accompanied each year by a slew of complaints that giving the results of Olympic competition ruins it for people who want to watch tape-delayed broadcasts on network TV.
Not this year. "I haven't had one," said Mark Jungmann, MPR's member listener services associate, who's the voice at the other end of the phone.
Perhaps it's the changing nature of information. What with Twitter and Web sites, we've become accustomed to getting information immediately. Or perhaps it's an indication that Twitter and the Web have usurped radio's traditional role of giving away the ending.
Molly Wood at CNET News says the Twitter problem isn't limited to the Olympics. She notes that West Coast TV viewers are constantly having their programs spoiled by East Coast tweets:
Networks aren't likely to rearrange their entire prime-time schedules to accommodate coastal differences--especially since only about 30 percent of U.S. households have DVRs. Putting "Lost" on at dinnertime on the West Coast will happen right around the time Jack stops being a self-righteously unbearable prig. (Spoiler alert.)
So, what are we to do? Sure, we can try to hide from Twitter when good shows are on, but no one's perfect--especially not hard-core Internet addicts like, um, some of my friends. And even if I can avoid Twitter when "Glee" is on, what about movies, which are regularly spoiled by Internet discussion? What about the feeling that if you don't see "Avatar" on opening weekend, you'll be so sick of hearing about it on Twitter that you'll gradually lose any desire to see it at all? Once you've spent a week or two embroiled in endless 140-character dissections of its "Dances with Wolves" plot, "amazing" graphics, and @arguments about whether that Na'Vi chick is hot or not, "It's Complicated" starts to feel deliciously underhyped. (Shudder.)
Some media get around this problem by issuing "spoiler alerts" on their tweets. Like this one:
What's your pleasure on the subject?
It's discussed on today's Fresh Eye on the Radio with The Current's Mary Lucia, shortly before she convinced me not to give today's results.
go ahead and broadcast the news.
Even if I try to watch the coverage tonight, I'll likely miss the events I'd most like to see. Generally I find the broadcasts extremely difficult to watch. For instance, around 3 on Saturday afternoon I thought "hey, I wonder what's on the olympics right now? Over the next 20 minutes, I saw 2 ski jumps, too much of Al Michaels, too many commercials and an interesting, but not really what I was looking for vignette on a long-distance skating event in the Netherlands. So I said "Forget this" (edited for publishing) and did something else.
If I seriously don't want to be spoiled, I don't go online (or listen to the radio in this case).
I think that it's good etiquette to not "spoil" over media that are (primarily) chatter. Hiding the results behind a link on Twitter, for instance, is classy. It gives folks a choice to know now or watch the game later. I'd say the same thing about blabbing about Lost spoilers on the bus.
However, I think you are right that a news organization should report the news.
I suppose it depends on how you view your segment on Lucia's program... are you there to chat, to report the news, or both?
I was rooting for you to spoil it, perhaps as a protest to NBC's decision to chop up and repackage an event that happens live in a US-friendly time zone
It didn't occur to me until driving in today that I wouldn't have spoiled anything as the only two items I would have passed along was the men's hockey score and the men's curling. Both of them, as it turned out, WERE broadcast during the day and weren't featured at night.
That said, I think any editorial process that involves checking the nightly TV listings is a corrupt editorial process.
Lindsey Vonn gets a medal today.
Is that a spolier or a teaser?