Olympic photojournalism for the CBC

At 7:40 of overtime in the Gold Medal Men's Hockey final, Sidney Crosby changed Canada forever.

During the Olympics I was fortunate enough to be called in to the CBC to report on what would become Canada’s winningest Games and the biggest party Vancouver has ever seen. Not a bad gig.

When the call came, I was a little shocked to hear the news director pitch the assignment. My background, at least as far as reporting goes was mostly in television. I had worked for CBC Vancouver at Six for a brief time before talking my way into the fledgling web department, where I mostly vetted users comments on the text-based stories the writers pumped out.

This time around, I would be doing the writing and best of all, shooting photos for CBCnews.ca, the ‘mother corp’s’ national online news juggernaut. Not bad. I had always wanted to shoot stills for the ‘ceeb’ – who like most/all the other broadcasters in the country tend to pull wire service pictures whenever an illustration is needed for a web story or, gasp, use a screen grab from a piece of video.

Anyway, the assignment was to cover ‘the colour’, which is news-ese for the most interesting/nutty/flamboyant/face-painted people at the Games and to sniff out stories outside the fences. How are the Olympics affecting ‘the people?’ That sort of thing.

Pretty well the perfect assignment (although it would have been cool to cover the events… a certain other national broadcaster had the rights, alas it wasn’t in the cards this time around).  This assignment, however came at just the right time. The Opening Ceremonies (and my last day of work teaching journalism at BCIT before the ‘Olympic break’) was February 12 and it was my plan to get out of town for a little ski vacation.

Its Monday February 8th, about 8PM. The phone rings. Its the *news director. I say “of course. I’d be happy to” or something like that. “Can you work weekends?” “Ah, sure,” I say. We arrange a conference call with my editors in Toronto for Wednesday. I hang up. Plans changed. The rest is history. Boy am I glad I took that call.

*(News directors do not sleep and rarely leave the office).

While that ski vacation would have been great, I realize now I would have regretted not being in Vancouver for the Olympics. The energy and sheer volume of people moving through the streets. Spontaneous choruses of “Oh Canada” on public transit. 14 days of ‘party-in-the-streets’ good times and the cheer (1:20mins into the video) that erupted from the city when Sidney Crosby scored ‘the golden goal’ will forever be etched on Canadian’s collective psyche. It was good to be a part of that. 17 days of OT in a row wasn’t bad either.

Some of my favourite photos, as well as a complete list of the stories I posted can be found after the break. (Just click ‘more’).

Thanks for stopping by! Go Canada!

Hockey fan-atics Andy Maxwell and PetrusMaki

Stephen Colbert signs autographs after taping an episode of the Colbert Report in Vancouver.

A group of Czech hockey fans rally on Robson Street, downtown Vancouver.

Bjorn & Ammeberit Svindal, parents of 27 year old Norwegian alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal who won an Olympic trifecta - Bronze in the GS, Gold in Super-G & Silver in the Downhill.

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