The British summer thus far has been a turgid affair. We have had I believe the wettest April to June since records began, with the 2nd wettest June on record. It's been wet, wet, wet.
With the Olympics just over a month away, what are the implications for the event if the terrible weather continues? New research suggests that the weather is likely to have a big impact on how the Games are reported.
The research analysed coverage of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing to see whether air pollution levels and the weather in general impacted the tone of the coverage.
They scoured the coverage in four major newspapers and the results were fascinating. They found that when air pollution was high, and therefore temperatures were also high, the coverage of the Games was not good, with a higher proportion of negative words used in stories about both the host country and the competitors.
It suggests that reporters at the event are highly likely to be influenced by the weather conditions they're 'forced' to endure and rain related grumpiness will gush forth in their reporting of the event.
By discovering a potential link between the environment and media coverage, the researchers caution journalists to be aware of any potential subconscious bias they are including in their reports—whether they are covering the Olympics or some other event where weather can be a factor.
“This article suggests that journalists’ decision-making could be influenced by a greater variety of factors than we previously thought,” says Zhong, a senior research fellow in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. “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.”
Whilst the organisers can do little to control the amount of rain falling during the event, research such as this suggests that if the heavens do open that they should do all they can to butter up the journalists present at the event if they want to achieve good press coverage.