Playing the Writing Game: 4 Challenges Writers Faced at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Over the past two weeks, thousands of top athletes across the globe were pitted against each other at the Olympics to find the best of the best. This sporting spectacle was one huge platform that brought people together from all over the world to watch new legends emerge and existing records shatter.

But the Games were more than just, well, a series of games–they were also a platform where writers, reporters, organizers, and advertisers  showcased the best content they had to offer. With all the hype surrounding the Games’ controversies, heated debates, social media trends, shocking upsets, and more, content creators from all over the world wanted to grab a piece of the action and take part in the Olympics media frenzy. 

Whether you were into the Games or not, there’s a lot we can learn from the writers who worked the Olympics news circuit. Here are four key challenges reporters faced during the Games, and what you can learn from their struggles:

1. So Many Stories, So Little Time

With over 200 countries and their 10,000+ athletes participating in various events, the writers always had plenty to cover at the Olympics. In fact, the volume of content being produced was so high, the Washington Post reportedly used robots to post game updates online, just so that they would have enough reporters to keep up with all of the other news-worthy Olympics stories! This huge increase in mainstream media coverage across the globe indicates that reporters at these events were expected to do one thing: get new stories out while they’re hot. If writers are unable to keep up, they run the risk of losing their audience to competing media outlets. Why post updates way after your competitors ?


2. Working With(out) the Team

Whether they were spread across stadiums, countries, or even continents, the various groups of people reporting on the Olympics were rarely together in the same place at the same time. Reporters on site jotted down notes about the games, which were then sent to another team in the main office and fleshed out into fully-formed articles. Although writers can still get work done this way, the distance between team members and the lack of a single place to edit content slows down the review process, making document collaboration on the go a major challenge for larger teams.


Did you know? From 1912 to 1948, Olympic games gave out medals to writers, painters, musicians, and architects. Previously unpublished original works that were inspired by sports could be put up for competition. The highest ranked artists were even given gold, silver, and bronze medals!

3.(No) Time for Review

Although the editorial review process is vital to successful news updates, with over 28 sporting events to cover in two short weeks, it’s easy to forget to check every email from editors and make every suggested change (even when they stand over your desk and remind you several times…oops!). This means that  certain edits, and even whole pieces of content, can get overlooked during the review process, and so many of these posts will go live unedited.

Without a real-time way to track and review all the content you’re producing, you run the risk of publishing unpolished posts, and that can make your organization, as well as you as a writer, look sloppy.


4. Mind Your (Readers’) Language!

Because the Olympics is a worldwide event, with millions of international viewers tuning in from all over the world, writing and delivering content in a variety of languages is incredibly important and valuable. Localized content, complete with all the linguistic flavor, can make your content more relatable to readers across various geographies. This is especially true in regions of the world where English is not the dominant spoken language.

It’s important to make sure that anybody around the world can read the stories you share, regardless of language barriers.

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Even if you don’t write coverage about the Olympics, it’s likely that you’ll face some of the above challenges during your career as a writer. Luckily, Zoho Writer is here to help you work around all of these problems (except for actually writing the stories–that one you’ll have to do yourself!)

With major capabilities in document collaboration, mobility, and multilingual support, the new Zoho Writer’s web and mobile apps aim to solve all of these issues in one shot. Create and collaborate on your documents on the go, track changes as they’re made, lock and mask certain parts of your piece you don’t want to be edited, compare different versions, and finally publish your finished piece — all from one efficient platform. Try it now!

-Rakeeb Rafeek

 Collaborators on this article: @alyssa_leelee @shakespeareprof @thanga_raj 

*This article was completely written and reviewed using Zoho Writer. We like using our products. We think you will too.



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