Reporters Bonnie Ford and Wayne Drehs collaborated on “The Agents of Change,” a longform piece focused on the two cities remaining in contention for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics.
Ford and Drehs gave Front Row an inside look at how the story came together in this week’s Journalism Showcase.
How did the two of you collaborate on this story?
Bonnie Ford: Wayne had been reporting a longform piece on the Los Angeles bid for quite a while. When it became clear LA and Paris were the front-runners, I came up with the idea of traveling to Paris last November on the anniversary of the 2015 terrorist attacks, to ask why the city was still so intent on a Games bid. Wayne and I started coordinating with our Olympic editor Joy Russo earlier this year. I have to add that Wayne and I have covered two US Olympic swim trials and three Olympic Games together, which sort of makes us honorary blood siblings. We have a great relationship and we were on the same page about what was important in this story. The writing process went incredibly smoothly because of that.
Wayne Drehs: We originally had planned two separate stories but pitched the idea of working together for one piece. It couldn’t have gone any better. Bonnie is a masterful colleague – she wrote the sections about Paris. I wrote about LA. Then we went back and forth with edits/ideas to help strengthen the final product before publication.
What has the reaction been and will you update the story with the recent news?
WD: I think the reaction has certainly been positive. I haven’t seen any other stories that took this approach and I know Bonnie and I are both quite proud of that – especially considering the way the news developed in Lausanne that this win-win-win dual bid was only possible because of the relationship between the two mayors. Now they will be the key figures negotiating with IOC President Thomas Bach to finalize an agreement. And certainly Bonnie and I will be continuing to cover the news up to and after the expected formal announcement in Lima in September.
BF: It was quite a moment to see the two mayors celebrating what looks like an inevitable 2024/28 Summer Games dual award in Lausanne. They were the center of attention. Things could move quickly in terms of a three-way deal with the IOC. The Olympic bid model, even with recent reforms, clearly still needs tweaking. Who knows if this is an historical one-off or a template for the future? We’ll be following all of it.