I'm sure there are New Yorkers who hoped the city would be chosen to host the 2012 Summer Games. But I never met one who would admit it.
News crews reportedly outnumbered Olympic enthusiasts at Rockefeller Plaza for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announcement this past Wednesday, while the public squares of Paris and London apparently thronged with supporters. Reports say that New York's proposal was, to quote one media outlet, "naive" compared to its competitors. That may have lost New York the Olympics, but the contest for the hearts and minds of the metropolis never really got off the ground.
Media coverage of the bid was dominated by the battle over building a West Side stadium. When Mayor Bloomberg's plans to do so were foiled, a solution was concocted that was designed to reassure the IOC that the infrastructure would be here for the Games. The flexibility in finding a solution was spun as emblematic of the sprit of New York, rising above a crisis with ingenuity and aplomb. Our Olympic hopes were alive, it seemed, because the mayor said so.
Trouble was that ordinary New Yorkers were turned off from the start by the perception of the Games as being more hassle than they are worth. Sure, they're ideal for a city like Atlanta, one that isn't always a destination for tourist dollars and cruise ships. But the perception was that New York didn't need an Olympics to make it a world-class city and, in fact, we would rather like it if everyone stayed away. After the vote, US Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) even commented, "We don't need reassurance from the IOC or anyone else that New York is a world-class city ... It's already the center of the universe."
The message that the Olympics would be good for New York was persistently absent. Only in the aftermath is there a real sense of lost opportunity, particularly for lower Manhattan, which has continued its post-9/11 economic struggle. But this bid reeked with agendas and a sense that the legacy was Bloomberg's - not New York's - to win or lose. The crucial messages to New Yorkers were overwhelmed by power struggles and simplistic promises of economic gains. It was not enough to sustain the kind of spark needed to keep an Olympic flame alive for the next seven years.
PRWeek takes lead in talent discussion
If there is one issue that confounds both corporate and agency leaders, in all regions, it is that of recruiting and retaining great PR talent. Literally every organization we talk to cites it as a critical challenge. Part of the problem is that standards are higher than ever, which is obviously not a bad thing. The relevance of the function is not in question, particularly given the blurring of the lines between PR and other marketing disciplines.
But competition for stars is fierce, and the process for bringing new pros into a company is rigorous, even as some ethically dubious practices emerge among organizations keen to poach great talent from rivals.
At PRWeek, we are weaving the talent issue into an ongoing dialogue with readers, to generate a community discussion. Beginning with the PRWeek Career Guide, which will be published in our August 29 issue, we will be seeking new ways to communicate the value of a career in PR beyond the profession, as well as help organizations identify ways to develop and attract great people. I hope the entire profession will join this discussion.