Alaska Public Media is asking for help from the public to find out if the Russian Olympics are actually happening.
Alaskans have a long history of not believing what they see in the news and it has taken years of research and a lot of persistence to figure out that the Sochi Games were not taking place.
“I think the public really wants to know,” said Alaskani public media director and Sochi 2016 coordinator Matt Heberlein.
“They’re looking for any information that will help them make an educated decision on whether or not they should go and watch the games.
And we’re really just trying to help them understand what’s going on in this unique environment and the challenges that we’ve faced.”
Alaskas tourism and environmental agencies have had to deal with a number of false reports about Sochi, including one by the Russian state-owned company TASS.
TASS claimed that the Olympic games would take place in February 2019, and Alaskanos tourism agencies were in the middle of a re-evaluation of how they would handle those false reports.
That re-examination has already begun, as Alaskanas tourism and environment agencies have been working with the Olympic committee and the Russian government to get the public and local media to understand what they saw in the Sochi games.
The media outlets that have been reporting on the Olympics have been subject to a number false reports in recent years, but there is no question that some of them are false, Heberlin said.
“This year we’ve been dealing with a lot more of that, because we’ve had the same amount of false stories come in and go back and forth between us and the IOC and TASS,” he said.
One of the more egregious false reports was a report that the games were taking place in April 2019, but the games actually were held in May 2019.
The Olympics are not the only games Alaskannes are seeing false news stories about Sochi.
Other false reports have been about the Russian Olympic committee, the Sochi 2014 Olympic committee or the 2016 Winter Olympics.
The games are the only Olympics that require the public, local media and the media to attend, and that is not going to change, Heberslein said.
Alaska has a history of false news reports.
Heberlen said that since the Olympic trials, the local news media have gotten more accurate information about the Sochi events, and now Alaskamans are getting information that is different from what they’ve seen before.
“We have a very active news media in Alask and we don’t always get the facts right, but we do get it,” Heberleinsaid.
“The public really cares what’s happening in their community, and it’s really important to get them on the right track.”
In addition to being an Olympic event, the Games also have a social, environmental and economic impact.
According to Alaskatoday.com, a website that tracks news about the Olympics, the games are an economic boon to the state.
The Games also bring in more than $2 billion in economic activity, and about $500 million in direct taxes for the state, Hebsin said.
He is also working with local and regional governments to make sure that the community is well prepared for the Games.
He also said that the media should not focus on just one Olympics event and not take into account the whole Olympic experience.
“People should really know the whole picture,” Hebersly said.
As a result of these efforts, Alaska public media and tourism agencies are planning to release a new website that will be accessible to the public.
He said that Alaskians will also be able to learn more about the different aspects of the Games and how they work through the Olympic Committee website.