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Media

August 7, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare an Olympiad?

The upcoming Beijing Olympics will see a major investment from any number of media outlets. While the Olympics are undoubtedly big news, and the China angle makes them all the bigger, Gelf couldn't help but wonder how cash-strapped newspapers are using the resources being poured into coverage of the 2008 Summer Games. A brief look at coverage from three such papers indicates that some are using the money wisely. Others, not so much.

Image Description

An expensive hunt for cheap Chinese chicken.

The Chicago Tribune, which is still alive as far as we can tell, is devoting considerable coverage to Mayor Richard M. Daley's trip to Beijing, including a recent tour of Beijing's new subway system. Seeing as Chicago is currently a finalist for the 2016 Games, and its public transit is, shall we say, somewhat lacking, this would seem to be a logical focus.

The San Diego Union-Tribune chimes in with some less substantial, but still potentially useful, blog posts. There have only been a couple so far—one informs us that there's lots of security at the Games, which isn't exactly a shocker. The other, however, informs us of the existence of something called "tea scamming," which we've never heard of before. So that could be useful to Western travelers.

However, the award for wastefulness may go to the Newark Star-Ledger, who decided to send its reporter in search of some genuine General Tso's chicken. Not only does this have nothing to do with the Olympics or the various political issues surrounding the Games, but if you want genuine General Tso's chicken, you should start your search in Chinatown, not China. A quick search through the archives of the New York Times or the Washington Post would have revealed as much—though getting accurate news isn't so easy for these reporters on expense accounts in China.







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