NZME puts the focus on New Zealand’s female athletes in the lead up to the Olympics

NZME is building Olympic hype, and adding to its online video collection, by challenging the common misconception that women don’t care about sport in a new series She’s got Game.

The fortnightly show launched yesterday, 100 days out form the start of the games, and includes interviews with Olympic athletes, cover the news and issues with discussion and observation and feature a number of rotating segments.

Yesterday’s episode saw Black Sticks midfielder Kayla Whitelock interviewed about her return to the team following time off for the birth of her daughter.

Radio Sport sports editor Rikki Swannell will be interviewing the sports stars and said sporting has long been heavily dominated by male-focused coverage, and NZME is determined to become the leading voice in a space traditionally ignored.

“With New Zealand’s female athletes poised to dominate New Zealand’s medal count in Rio, we want to ensure they get not only the coverage they deserve but also their profiles are raised in the lead up to Games. The Olympics will then be the springboard for more female-focused media in sport going forward.”

CEO of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith also featured in the first episode and said she is thrilled to see a focus on women’s sporting endeavours and achievements. 

“These athletes are the elite in their sport. They are phenomenal sportspeople who are incredible to watch, in addition to being inspirational. We have battled the disparity in coverage for women in sport for such a long time, so it’s truly great to see NZME committed to highlighting these amazing athletes.”

 Rikki Swannell and Kereyn Smith

Each eight minute episode of She’s Got Game will be available on the Herald’s dedicated Olympic news section on its website. It’s one of a number of initiatives NZME is rolling out in the lead up to the games including a 100-day countdown on multiple NZME sites, accompanied by daily articles, investigations utilizing NZME’s data journalism department, profiles, reviews of past performances, exclusive behind the scenes footage and of course, comprehensive coverage of the games themselves.

The content is no doubt an effort to repeat its 2015 achievement of the largest online audience for the Rugby World Cup news according to Nielsen, as well as over 3 million people viewing NZME content on Facebook.

She’s Got Game is the latest regular video content announced by NZME, following the launch of NZ Herald Focus last month. The video news show sees bulletins shared on the Herald website at midday and 4pm featuring news, business, sport and entertainment.

Prior to the launch, managing editor Shayne Currie told StopPress the move came as a result of listening to what readers and users want on a daily basis.

“In addition to people seeking news in a format they want at the time that’s best for them on the devices they love, we are seeing video usage skyrocketing,” he said. “We know from talking to advertisers that they are proactively looking for new ways to connect with our audience, particularly around video, and this is a solution for them that only NZME could provide. NZME already owns publishing and radio journalism and as an initiator of new and improved news it was only logical we would launch the first digital-only news format.”

Last week Colin Peacock on Mediawatch explored NZ Herald Focus as a growing threat to TV news, and while he found it was “Not so much eating TV’s lunch as nibbling at its morning and afternoon tea, perhaps”, Dominion Post columnist Mike O’Donnell was quoted as saying:

“I reckon election 2017 will be a whole new paradigm where mobile and content customisation are front and centre. By that time the six o’clock news may well be a thing of the past.”

If this prediction is true, it will be interesting to see what other online video content NZME rolls out in the future.

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