SINGAPORE, August 19, 2010 - The celebrity culture enveloping sport has seen footballers turn models and a self-proclaimed basketball “King”, but reporters need to avoid blindly following the trend and remain true to their principles, said Gianni Merlo, president of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS).
Merlo, who was speaking to 29 reporters from the International Olympic Committee's Young Reporters programme at the Youth Olympic Games Village in Singapore today, applauded the IOC for creating the initiative and urged the budding journalists to “be brave” and remain true to their principles in their work.
“The most important thing is our independence,” Merlo said. “If we are completely dependent on the so-called power of sport, we cannot help sport to develop.”
Merlo, who has covered 19 editions of the Olympic Games, also talked about how advances in technology over the years has changed how reporters work, but emphasised the need for reporters to continue thinking critically. He also likened computers to weapons which reporters can wield to help better society.
Merlo called on the Young Reporters to make the most of their unique position as the only journalists who are allowed to mingle and talk to athletes in the residential zone of the village.
“I think that between all the young athletes are very good stories of their beginnings, of their lives.”
Below: Gianni Merlo, AIPS President addressing the 29 reporters from the IOC's Young Reporters' Programme. (Photo by Iuliia Vynokurova, IOC Young Reporter)