London 2012 Olympics and the deontological principle of truth. An analysis of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in the international quality press

TitleLondon 2012 Olympics and the deontological principle of truth. An analysis of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies in the international quality press
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Ramon Vegas, X.
Affiliation (1st Author)Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain).
Section or WGEthics of Society and Ethics of Communication Working Group
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodeETHW4a
Slot Code (Keyword)ETHW4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitleTo entertain and to educate: the challenge of promote values, give fun and sale
Submission ID5931

In the current scenario, characterized by the economic crisis and the increasing preoccupation among the citizenship for the ethical exigency of the media, it is high time to reflect on the situation of one of the most paradigmatic areas of specialized communication: sports journalism. In order to comply with the deontological principle of truth, media should provide a comprehensive, rich and contextualized coverage of sports, including a wide range of significant sporting and non-sporting related elements. What is more, they should feature a selection of representative, authoritative and trustworthy sources to convey the most complete picture of the events. The celebration of the London 2012 Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies opens new possibilities to examine, from a deontological lens, how these sporting and cultural mega-events with global exposure were reported in the media. First of all, the paper will study the theoretical foundations regarding the information completeness and the use of sources, connecting them to the sports journalism discipline. A detailed look will be given to transnational codes (UNESCO, International Federation of Journalists and Council of Europe) and to relevant national codes from United Kingdom (Press Complaints Commission, National Union of Journalists), United States of America (Society of Professional Journalists, American Society of Newspapers Editors) and Spain (Spanish Journalists’ Associations Federations). A series of stylebooks and newsroom guides from the quality media in the aforementioned countries, as well as the guidelines comprised in the specialized code promoted by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), will also be considered.Secondly, taking all these codes’ prescriptions as a starting point, the paper will content analyse the textual and photographic coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of London 2012 Olympic Games in six quality newspapers: The Guardian/ The Telegraph (United Kingdom), The New York Times/ The Washington Post (United States of America) and El País/ La Vanguardia (Spain). The research will look into the crucial information about the ceremonies that were reported in the media, including the cultural dimension of the events (music, folklore and other cultural aspects of the host country), the Olympic rituals that were featured in the news pieces (the parade of the participants, the institutional speeches, the raising of the Olympic flag or the playing of the Olympic anthem, to list a few), the details about the sporting actors involved in the ceremonies and the references to the economical, environmental, geopolitical and social aspects related to the ceremonies. Moreover, the paper will examine the range of journalistic genres (previews, reviews, news reports, interviews, opinion columns, editorials and brief-pieces) and the sources (first-hand observation, sporting actors, institutional representatives, news agencies, international media outlets, specialists, official publications, media guides and documentation) that were employed in the coverage of the events. Keywords: Sports journalism, London 2012 Olympics ceremonies, deontology, truth, information completeness, sources

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