There's some good news regarding the 2014 Winter Olympics. Thanks to some excellent partners, the Lake Placid News and its sister newspaper the Adirondack Daily Enterprise will send a second reporter to the Caucasus Mountains next February to cover those Games in Sochi, Russia.
Senior Sports Writer Lou Reuter, who has already covered two Winter Olympics and won many awards, largely for photography, has been with this company for 18 years. He will join outdoors and sports writer Mike Lynch in covering the many local athletes expected to compete in Sochi. But Lou will have another major task: He is charged with covering Olympians from all over New York, on behalf of newspapers statewide.
That's because most of his travel expenses are coming from the New York Press Association, which represents hundreds of papers around the state - mostly weeklies. Enterprise and Lake Placid News Publisher Catherine Moore, a foundation board member of NYPA, made the proposal recently, and the board overwhelmingly voted to commit funds from its foundation. The deal is that the reporter will cover NYPA member papers' local Olympians as well as those from the Adirondacks. When those athletes are named, the editors of those papers will be contacted to plan coverage.
This is new territory for the NYPA but also is consistent with the kind of cooperative teamwork that its members have been talking about for years. The LPN and ADE are grateful and proud that the association's members decided to invest in our papers' Olympic coverage.
They'll get their money's worth in terms of quality. You may remember Lou's Olympic reports, photos and columns from Salt Lake City in 2002 and Vancouver in 2010. And while most sportswriters are unfamiliar with the intricacies of luge and freestyle skiing, Mike and Lou cover them regularly here in Lake Placid. A big part of telling the story of the Olympics is explaining to readers how sports like bobsledding and biathlon work.
Another big part is covering the athletes' family members and friends who show up to cheer them on. As for the local Olympians, those in the region know many of them very well. As for those from around the state, this area will have an opportunity to connect with them.
Many weekly newspapers can't afford to subscribe to news and photo wire services like the Associated Press, and besides, there's no guarantee the AP would cover their hometown athletes if they don't win medals. Just being an Olympian is a monumental accomplishment, and each one's neighbors want to see, read about and celebrate him or her, whether the final result is gold or 80th place.
People up here understand that pride in hometown Olympians, yet many also take it for granted. Few large U.S. cities can boast of more than one or two Winter Olympians, but in 2010, there were 12 who either grew up in or had settled full-time in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Vermontville and Paul Smiths - plus many more who live or had lived in Lake Placid to train. It can be easy, living here, to fail to appreciate how rare that is. Yet people do appreciate it, as evidenced by the crowded welcome-home parades held in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake in 2010.
While Lou will cover Olympians hailing from Long Island to his original hometown of Buffalo, including our local competitors, Mike will focus on those from the Adirondacks. That's because his travel expenses come from a local source - the Charles B. Decker Memorial Scholarship, named for a former ADE editor.
Thanks to the New York Press Association. With these partners, the LPN and ADE can be the best source of Winter Olympic journalism for you and people like you all around New York.