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The Winter Olympics, Kiev and the BBC

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 24 February 2014

I think that I must have watched all of thirty minutes of the Winter Olympics and that is only because I have always had a very soft spot for Hazel Irvine. Cripes, is that the sort of thing one should admit to in print? I digress.

Did the BBC really need to send such a large team to cover the Games? There were in fact more BBC staff at the Games than members of Team GB. That is, I am afraid just so BBC.

North of the games there is a different drama playing out in the Ukraine. I rephrase: if you have woken up after snoring in front of the Men’s 20 km cross country ski where they also shoot guns event, there is real drama in the Ukraine.  So on the BBC news we have reports from two different reporters on the ground (each with a camera crew). Switch to Newsnight and there is another BBC reporter with a camera crew. Over on radio 4 I can hear another chappie.

And guess what none are breaking news. All are simply relaying events with a slightly different emphasis but basically importing facts. How many BBC reporters are now in Kiev and how many BB support staff? Anyone care to hazard a guess? Can anyone actually justify it?

Can anyone explain why the BBC needed so many folks on the ground at the Olympics? Surely all we need is non-stop Hazel Irvine from the studio with pictures brought in from Russian TV and a few expert commentators for the odd sport about which Hazel does not have a truly encyclopaedic knowledge?

As ever, organisations where there is no bottom line to worry about are always rather poor when it comes to basic cost benefit analysis and cost control. Meet the BBC.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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