Road to Beijing: Olympics thrusts Beijing front and center


There's a reason the 2008 Summer Olympics begin here at exactly 8:08 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month. In the Cantonese dialect, the words for "eight" and "fortune" rhyme. Eight is the ultimate lucky number.

And it is fortune this country of 1.3 billion people hopes for as it steps into the spotlight on the world stage for the next 17 days.

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Previous Road to Beijing reports

Media faces bureaucratic hurdles before Olympics
July 16, 2008
With the Olympics just a month away, broadcasters are as jittery as the athletes who will gather to compete in Beijing. A substantial number of producers and cameramen say effective television coverage is threatened by the extensive regulations.  Full story

Marketers treading carefully
May 29, 2008
It has only gone from bad to worse in China this spring. Protesters from London to Paris to San Francisco dogged the Coca-Cola-sponsored Olympic torch relay to shout down China's rule of Tibet. Full story

Olympics: China's local media producers
April 24, 2008
Whatever you think of mixing international sports with China's politics, the Beijing Olympic Games could prove a 17-day coming out party for the country's media and entertainment industry. Full story

Unrest rattles Chinese spring
March 28, 2008
March this year came in like a lion in China, the tail end of some of the worst winter weather in decades, perhaps in a century. Heavy snow during the Spring Festival period in mid-February closed roads in 13 provinces, much of them in southern areas that don't receive any snowfall in the average year. Full story

Digital coverage is a world-beater for the new era
February 22, 2008
If leading broadcasters around the world have it right, the Beijing Olympics will be ground zero for a new era in high-tech global sports coverage. Plans are afoot among some of the most competitive broadcasters in the world to make these Games the target of the most intensive new-media barrage ever seen at an international event. Full story

NBC Uni sharpens Olympic game
February 22, 2008
NBC Universal is planning an ambitious mix of technology to blanket the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. There will be upward of 3,600 hours of live coverage of the Games, not only on NBC and its portfolio of cable channels but also VOD, online and mobile through its platforms and through its strategic partnerships with Microsoft, AT&T and MSOs, satellite providers and telcos. Full story

Western broadcasters taking pains to smooth China experience
December 21, 2007
Certain horrifying prospects come to mind as the West gets ready to descend on Beijing to cover the 2008 Olympic Games. Imagine someone like "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" Larry David ending up in Beijing stumbling through one social gaffe after another like he does on his home turf of Los Angeles in the award-winning series. Full story

Cautionary China tale for foreign journalists
December 21, 2007
On the ground in the Chinese capital, the most obvious place for visiting journalists to turn for advice is to the veteran Chinese news assistants who help foreign correspondents get stories. After a little exposure to the openness of Western media, many work with a strong desire to bridge the gap between China and their employers, who are responsible for shaping world opinion of the Middle Kingdom. Full story

China readies 'harmonious society' for Olympic guests
November 16, 2007
It's called hexie shehui, or "harmonious society," and these days the phrase is ringing from the hillsides as China seeks to portray itself in a kinder, gentler light in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The concept, the embodiment of the image the government hopes to present to the world, is infusing every action, right down to the name chosen for the torch relay: the "journey of harmony." Full story

NBC Uni preps expanded Olympics coverage
October 19, 2007
By the time NBC Universal broadcasts the closing ceremony of next year's Summer Olympics, it will have provided more coverage from Beijing in a little more than two weeks than the total of all the Olympics since 1960. Ever since 2000, NBC Uni has used its broadcast and cable platforms to provide hours of Olympics coverage day and night.
Full story

Cooperation, patience keys to working in China
September 21, 2007
Green slime was very much top of mind for producer Tom Lynch as he sat down one early morning in Beijing for a rare meeting with the president of children's programming at Chinese broadcaster CCTV. He was determined to get to the bottom of the slime issue one way or the other, regardless of protocol. Full story

Beijing sees Olympics as shot at gold
August 17, 2007
Will it rain on Beijing's parade? That's the big question as Chinese authorities gird themselves for the nation's most ambitious extravaganza on the world stage. With 12,000 TV professionals expected to descend on China's capital a year from now to deliver the coverage to an anticipated 4 billion viewers worldwide, a lot more is at stake than a few medals. Full story