Rain, clouds may affect Summer Olympics TV

July 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., July 15 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest the tone of coverage of the Summer Olympic Games in London could be impacted if cloudiness or rain persist, as they have in June.

In England, June was one of the wettest in history with Britain's Environment Agency registering numerous flood alerts and warnings countrywide.

Although better weather is forecast for London July 27 to Aug. 12, Bu Zhong, an associate professor at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Pennsylvania State University, said if the weather is ideal, reporters are more likely to give the Olympics a higher grade -- if the research from Beijing holds true.

Zhong and colleagues examined four major U.S. newspapers and found that as air pollution increased and temperatures rose during the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, journalists were more likely to use negative words in stories about the host country and about competitors from China and the United States.

"This article suggests that journalists' decision making could be influenced by a greater variety of factors than we previously thought," Zhong said. "To better understand journalists' thinking process, it is necessary to explore not only known patterns of journalistic practices, but also some exogenous factors, such as weather."

The findings were published in the journal Mass Communication and Society.

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