iLocal News Archives

Gangwon 2024 opens up new horizons for young Asian journalists


30 January 2024 – It is not only young athletes who are gaining formative experiences at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024. News agencies Xinhua from China and Kyodo from Japan have sent some of their brightest young journalistic talents to the Republic of Korea to report on the performances of their countries’ most promising young athletes.

Xinhua hands opportunity to young reporters

Yu Xiaozhong, Director of the  the Sports News Department of Xinhua is in charge of Xinhua’s reporting group at Gangwon 2024. Six members of the 18-person strong team are under 30 years old. Amongst the 12 reporters and six photographers are three young reporters. Yu believes that the YOG provide the perfect training ground for his junior reporters.

“The Winter Youth Olympic Games are the beginning of the young athletes’ dreams for the future, and they also provide a rare opportunity for young reporters to learn about and understand the Olympics,” says Yu. “Xinhua’s reporting group is composed of mostly young people, and we believe that it will be a unique experience for them, which will hopefully help them to make more progress in their career.” Chinese athletes have won 16 medals so far during the Games, so there have been plenty of stories to cover for them.

Benefits to Olympic storytelling

One member of the group, Zhao Jiantong, covered the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 but has relished the chance to travel abroad and broaden his experiences.

“The Winter YOG allow the younger generation of athletes to participate in international competitions, improve their skills, broaden their horizons and make new friends,” he says. “For a young journalist like me, this is also a great chance to improve myself. The best part is that I have had the opportunity to learn from many experienced media colleagues from different countries.”

His fellow Xinhua reporter Lu Xingji believes the experience gained at Gangwon 2024 will help both the reporters and the athletes whose stories are being told.

“As young individuals, we have the opportunity to establish long-term connections and conduct follow-up reporting,” he notes. “This is beneficial for both my professional development and the career growth of young athletes.”

For Xu Shihao, a young reporter who has only been working for over a year, the Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 have provided a platform for him to develop his abilities and experience, and given him an opportunity to obtain a better knowledge of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement.

“It has been exhilarating for me to witness young athletes from all over the world compete at a high level and to see people from different nations become good friends in Gangwon,” he says. “Gangwon 2024 has given me a good initial understanding of the Olympics, and I plan to improve even more on this at Paris 2024. I believe that covering various Olympic events will help me improve as a young sports reporter.”

Unbeatable on-site experience

Kyodo News is also giving two young female reporters the chance to experience their first taste of an Olympic event. Japan’s largest news agency has entrusted its coverage to Eri Shinagawa, who is covering the ice sports in Gangneung, and her colleague Risa Kamata, who is reporting on the snow sports in the mountain clusters.

Supervised by an experienced editor from Japan, Eri has so far covered speed skating, short track, figure skating, curling and snowboard, filing up to five stories per day, and highlights speed skater Sababuchi Waka, a bronze medallist in the women’s 500m, as the athlete she’s enjoyed covering the most. It has been hard work, but Eri believes she is learning lessons that will benefit her career in the future.

“Kyodo want the young generation to participate in this international event and to grow as journalists, so they gave us this chance,” she explains. “I enjoy covering events in Japan, but here there are many different cultures, and I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of journalists.

“I want to cover the Olympic Games in the future, but it’s very difficult to be chosen as a member of Kyodo’s Olympic coverage teams because everyone wants to go,” she adds. “I have to continue to progress – my writing speed is still too slow! – and do my best, but I think this experience will help me very much.”

Eri’s colleague Risa has been based in Alpensia and is also feeling the benefits of working in a new environment.

“I usually report on baseball in Japan,” she explains. “But at the YOG I have been covering the snow competitions in the mountains, and they are very exciting. This is also my first time interacting with reporters and athletes from other countries, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

IOC Young Reporters Programme continues to thrive

In addition to the work being done by Xinhua and Kyodo, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a programme that trains promising young reporters at the YOG, giving them a valuable opportunity to learn on site at an Olympic event while receiving mentorship from experienced journalists. Seven of the 13 participants in the current edition are from the Republic of Korea, with the other six from future Olympic or YOG hosts (France, Italy and Senegal).

Many of the programme’s alumni have gone on and developed their journalistic career further, and some of them are now even working at Gangwon 2024 in more senior roles. One of them is Ji Ye (China), who participated in the IOC Young Reporters Programme at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, Singapore 2010, and the inaugural Winter YOG, Innsbruck 2012, and is now part of the Xinhua group. May Chen (Singapore) and Emma Holmsen (Sweden) have been reporting around the venues for the Olympic Information Service, while Jeroen Adriaanse (Netherlands) is producing content for the International Skating Union. Additionally, Annesha Gosh (India), who joined the programme in 2018, is working for the IOC on the production of the video news releases, available on this platform.

Find out more about the IOC Young Reporters Programme at Gangwon 2024


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *