SBJ/April 7-13, 2014/Olympics

IOC chooses Probst to be chairman of press commission

Six months after being made a member of the International Olympic Committee, Larry Probst has been appointed chairman of the organization’s press commission.

Probst
The appointment is the latest evidence that ties between the IOC and U.S. Olympic Committee have improved over the last five years. Probst, who chairs the USOC, made that a priority in 2009 after Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics failed in the first round of voting.

He replaces Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper as head of the press commission and will have an important voice in the IOC’s social media policy for journalists, which has become increasingly important with the rise of Twitter, Instagram and other outlets. The commission’s primary responsibility is to act as a liaison between media and the IOC and ensure that the working conditions for journalists at upcoming Olympic Games are suitable.

In 2009, the idea that Probst would take on such an important role with the media would strike many as unlikely. He typically avoided the press and was guarded about the USOC’s activities. But that has changed in recent years. He now meets with U.S.-based Olympic media regularly and has pushed the USOC to become more transparent regarding its activities.

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