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Thread: Building a knowledgeable audience

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    Building a knowledgeable audience

    jaylee wrote in another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by jaylee View Post
    I learn very little from the media reports of the competitions though. They rarely offer any genuine insight into why a result happened.

    The broadcasts, have, from time to time, shown short segments that explain what is a cheated jump and other key parts of the scoring system, and made attempts to explain why such-and-such result happened, but I feel they need to do them over and over again at every competition. Build up a whole library of these segments that tie into the current scoring sytem and host them online. That would help educate people.

    I thought NBC did a great job with the Olympics website for skating. They had the "You be the judge" section that walked the user through the scoring system (it was quite hilarious to see whom the American users of this knocked off the podium and placed there instead, but for quite a few placements, it was the same), as well as the side by side comparison for the ladies that showed how Yu-Na and Mao received the GOE for each of their elements.
    That got me thinking. What are some other things that figure skating federations have done or could do to help build educated skating audiences? What could TV networks do?

    I'll mention one thing that was very useful to me when I started really paying attention in the mid-1990s and going out of my way to track down videotapes of non-US broadcasts: Judges explaining the judging process on TV.

    CBC used to have little segments of five minutes or less called The Judges Seat in which a judge would give a little presentation about what judges look for with regard to a specific topic, with video examples from both top skaters and lower-ranked skaters. I only got to see a few of them -- the one I remember best was about how judges evaluated step sequences. Of course the criteria were applicable to the 6.0 judging system in use at the time. There was probably another segment explaining each of the criteria listed for the Presentation mark, beyond the simple list available in the rulebook. Another was analyzing little details about how several of the top dance teams performed one of the compulsories at that competition.

    I don't think there were any written rules to explain these fine points in more detail. At least not anything published in a form that could be purchased or accessed online (once that was an option) by the general public. There must have been discussions and probably written notes used in judging training, but the details of the training probably varied from one country to another.

    So having a judge give even a general explanation to the TV audience was very educational even at the fairly general level that could fit in a few minutes of broadcast time.

    It certainly interested me. I would have wanted more detail, but for most viewers an overview would be plenty. And TV broadcast time is too expensive to spend on material of limited interest.

    The Internet, now with the capability for online video streaming, and to a lesser degree specialty cable channels make it easier for networks to offer additional performances or ancillary material that won't fit in a convenient broadcast slot. Just a few seconds of air time to direct viewers to a website or secondary channel can let viewers know there's more material available from that network if they care to seek it out.

    So what could networks do more of? What else could they do that they haven't tried yet?

    And do they really have the motivation to do it, other than perhaps during the Olympics? Is a Canadian network more likely than a US one to assume that the viewers care about how the sport really works and how judges really think?

    Would more useful information come directly from the federations? And could they use TV broadcasts to let viewers know where to find it if they're interested?


    As a fan, what kind of resources would you like to have access to in order to help you understand what you're seeing during skating competitions and how it's being judged? Would you want different kinds of information now than when you first started following the sport?

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    On the issue of how many minutes of air time the networks are willing to give to this kind of thing, I think the television viewing public has moved on from "up close and personal" fluff. I think even casual viewers would be very much interested in features like this.

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    When there was not much of search engines and wikipedia, and long begore youtube that if you think dates only 5 years I used our commentator to learn the principals, first of all distinguish the jumps in real time. Years of repeat but i was lucky he was saying all the jumps and spins etc as a program went. This way you feel involved and learn with empirical way. No matter how many times I could read the orologie, image is powerful and easy to understand. With Cop he has gotten confused and doesnt say much anymore.

    I think a simple thing like a serious blog that experts or judges could post would do miracles. People watch more internet than tv, or even tv on internet. To take videos in slow motions and explain a step sequence for example, not necessarily a difficult one, maybe of a novice skater. I dont know if one could use skaters under CoP who are no longer competing for this. Or take older skaters under 6.0 and explain the difference between interpretaion and performace and choreography, because as much as I have read the rules, cant know what a judge looks up there. Not mention marks but what to focus on.
    A little thing also about spins that a regular viewer cannot get, for example if a flying sitspin when a skater spins backwards or forward is concidered more difficult, things like that.
    From scratch for an audience who knows nothing take a program and describe it step by step would be great, I think.

    Ah and rocker, brackets, counters and mohaw, 3turns I think I cant tell them in real time to save mylife, because i ve seen the diagrams and YT videos but are isolated from a program. And they sound like coctail names

    Maybe the education could be in levels, like school, first you learn the alphabet

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    Build a knowledgeable audience? I'd be happy if we could just build an enthusiastic audience! Who would care whether they come for the salchows or the sequins?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Build a knowledgeable audience? I'd be happy if we could just build an enthusiastic audience! Who would care whether they come for the salchows or the sequins?

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Build a knowledgeable audience? I'd be happy if we could just build an enthusiastic audience! Who would care whether they come for the salchows or the sequins?
    It looks like this way you gain two and might lose five fans who dont get what happens, arent more people enthusiastic and stick to something once they understand something about it? Feel involved somehow?
    It happened to me with football and not with ice dance, I refuse to learn anything but the basics so I watch it for the sequins and the drama. But you cant get too enthusiastic that way, you get lost watching live or from tv and if they bring me the 20th ranked team and told me these are Olympic Champion's level I would buy it.
    Last edited by seniorita; 11-10-2010 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorita View Post
    It looks like this way you gain two and might lose five fans who dont get what happens, arent more people enthusiastic and stick to something once they understand something about it? Feel involved somehow?
    It happened to me with football and not with ice dance, I refuse to learn anything but the basics so I watch it for the sequins and the drama. But you cant get too enthusiastic that way, you get lost watching live or from tv and if they bring me the 20th ranked team and told me these are Olympic Champion's level I would buy it.

    I have to say you're right, Seniorita, though that does make the job harder. It would be easier to build skating up if we could just get people to come for the flash--it worked in 1994, after all--but I have to say that you have a point. You gave a micro-example, your reaction to ice dance. We also have a macro-example staring us in the face. When CoP came in and those big audiences couldn't understand why a wonderful-looking skater was getting a low mark (because who notices under-rotations, anyway?), they left in the same droves they had arrived in, leaving just us diehard fans behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    jaylee wrote in another thread:

    That got me thinking. What are some other things that figure skating federations have done or could do to help build educated skating audiences? What could TV networks do?
    Thanks gkelly for starting this thread. One thing that I think federations/ISU could do is to share their resources for educating judges with the audiences, and even if they couldn't make it onto a broadcast, they could be put online for the public to see. Perhaps broadcasters could say, "Please go to this website to learn more about the judging system."

    For example, the importance of components: http://www.iceskatingintnl.com/curre...%20Seminar.htm

    This spring, the ISU issued a video with examples of exceptional component skating. Some of the American skaters featured included Brian Boitano, the 1988 U.S Olympic champion and Paul Wylie, the 1992 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, among others. Some officials also recommended viewing videos of such former U.S. Olympic champions Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, Dick Button and Tenley Albright, as well as the late Bradley Lord, the 1961 U.S. men’s titlist.
    I would have liked to see this video. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong...I don't think such videos are widely available? Though sometimes bits and pieces of these videos do surface online, presumably without permission.) Such a video would be a help to many a casual fan in learning how components are scored. Certainly, the federations have material/resources to educate their coaches, judges and skaters on being up to date on the scoring system; perhaps it could be modified/edited to share with the public?

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