I made the Olympic team: newspaper pages from Beijing

By Brad Needham

During the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, I was so excited to check the front page designs of newspapers around the world to see what they had done. They didn’t disappoint. There were so many great front pages every day, despite Japan being a world away in terms of time zones for many newspapers. But even newspapers in North America had big splashes frequently. And thanks to COVID, we got to do it again months rather than years later with Beijing.

And this time I was asked to be part of the Olympic team at Postmedia (for a brief period after Ben Johnson won the 100-metre gold I was determined to make the Olympics, and for the record I’m pretty damn fast). I was in charge of co-ordinating the print coverage for Postmedia’s many newspapers, primarily the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, Windsor Star, Regina Leader Post and the Sasktatoon Star Phoenix. Not for front pages, but the sports sections.

As I started watching front pages this year, I was disappointed. A friend asked if it seemed like coverage was lacking for this Olympics. I thought it was a matter of time. But it never came to be. Likely for several reasons — the time zone, the busier news season, particularly in Canada with the occupation of Ottawa, and the news around the always looming invasion of Ukraine, and likely politics. With the Games in China I wouldn’t be at all surprised if media organizations around the world made the decision to give less play to these Games. They lived online and in sports sections around the world. Front page real estate was as hot as the Brampton housing market.

There were a few front page splashes, but not many. So I will indulge myself. I will show a few of the nice front pages from the Games from around the world, but also show some of the pages I did that I was proud of. I am going to let the pages mostly speak for themselves.

Jyllands Posten, Feb. 10, 2022
Dagens Nyheter, Feb. 9, 2022
Dagens Nyheter, Feb. 20, 2022
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 21, 2022

And me!

There is nothing overly fancy about any of these pages. I just wanted to be simple and clean, but fun. I am happy with how they turned out. With each, I had to design in such a way that if there is a banner ad, the page can be easily adjusted and still work. The exception being the first below, celebrating the Canadian women’s hockey gold medal win, for which I did two totally separate designs.

Vancouver Sun, Feb. 18, 2022
Calgary Herald, Feb. 15, 2022

While I was looking through the photos, I started to see a lot of people hugging, some happy, some sad. I thought, who doesn’t love hugs? And with all the reasons to not like the Olympics this time around, primarily due to their location, in a country known for human rights abuses, there were these athletes. They were overjoyed, and they were crushed. But there were hugs. Lots of hugs. This is a very small selection of the amazing photos, captured by professional photographers from around the world.

Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 17, 2022
Edmonton Journal, Feb. 5, 2022

Hopefully the next Olympics will offer more, like the previous one did. So unlike the Summer Games, I won’t award medals for the top papers. Though I will say Dagens Nyheter was one of the most consistent. Until next time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s