In December of last year News Corp named a 44 person team to cover the Tokyo Olympic Games, the largest since Sydney 2000 and it will be led by Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley, who has been appointed News Corp Australia Olympic director, and The Sunday Telegraph’s editor Mick Carroll, who will be Olympic editor.
News Corp Australia will serve as official and exclusive print partners and an official digital partner of the Australian Olympic Committee. While there is some doubt as to whether the Games will proceed as planned, News Corp continues to prepare until advised of a postponement or cancellation.
Crawley spoke with Mediaweek about what to expect from News Corps coverage and what is special about covering an Olympic Games.
Crawley says that while he has been named Olympic director he will lean heavily on Mick Carroll’s experience.
“Mick has done a couple of Olympics at the front of News Corp and he is just a gem to work with, and a team player. They call me director of Olympics but the reality is Mick is looking after me and I am following him around most of the time.”
This is Crawley’s seventh Olympic Games that he has covered in some capacity, and while he says that Sydney and London have been the best Olympic Games that he has worked on, Tokyo has a real chance at being just as special.
“ When you go to an Olympics you work so hard that you never want to go to another one ever again. About a year out you think, jeez I hope I get to go to these games.
“I know the issues that are happening with the coronavirus and all the speculation, and I have no control over that whether it’s on this year or on next year, either way, I can’t wait.”
The big News Corp Australia team includes:
Matt Kitchin (News Editor), Heath Kelly (Masthead Digital Editor), Cameron Tandy (Photographic Editor), Wally Mason (The Australian), Luke McIlveen, Matty Johns, Trent Dalton, Andrew Rule, Paul Kent, Yvonne Sampson, Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield, Kieran Gilbert, Leo Schlink, Jessica Halloran, Jacqueline Magnay, Jamie Pandaram, Jon Ralph, Peter Badel, Ben Horne, David Riccio, Will Swanton, Brent Read, Wayne Smith, Jai Bednall, Reece Homfray, Miranda Wood, Scott Gullan, Julian Linden, Emily Benammar, Lauren Wood, Joe Barton, Selina Steele, Chris Paine, Alex Coppel (photographer), Phil Hillyard (photographer), Adam Head (photographer), Sarah Reed (photographer), Jason Brookes (video), and production staff.
Crawley says that News Corp will deliver the best coverage of an Olympic Games that the company has ever done and the key to that is the diversity of the team.
“We will be taking a team of 40 something people to Tokyo if it’s on. Those will be making content for newspapers, on websites, and on podcasts.”
With such a diverse group of talent Crawley says that News Corp will be offering a variety of quality content options from the serious to the silly.
“We will have Yvonne Sampson who studied Japanese for four years in secondary school, and Matty John’s first Olympics and perhaps even Reg Reagan may take a walk, downtown, I have no idea what is going to happen there.
“We’ve got Trent Dalton who is probably the best writer Australia has ever produced – if he is not the best he is definitely in the grand final. He is just a beautiful writer and I can’t wait to read his Olympics stuff.”
Crawley doesn’t pretend to know the secret formula to a covering an Olympics and says you know within yourself whether you did a good job or not.
“When I was a kid I conned my way into working Wimbledon and I was dry reaching because I was thinking I was going to get found out, and it’s really scary but what you don’t realise is the big events write themselves and they are the easiest ones to cover.
“You are only as good as the great athletes and contests which write themselves.”
Top Photo [L-R]: Jessica Halloran, Jamie Pandaram, Andrew Rule, Yvonne Sampson, Matty Johns, Kieran Gilbert, Phil ‘Buzz’ Rothfield, Miranda Wood