Olympic notebook: Meet the Games' youngest reporter

10-year-old Brennan LaBrie, in town to cover the Games as a Time magazine "kid reporter," is already a veteran journalist.

VANCOUVER--Working in the unofficial press center at Robson Square, Brennan LaBrie stands out a bit.

It's not just that he's blogging, doing podcasts, and posting to Twitter. It's that he's 10 years old. LaBrie was one of a dozen winners of a Time magazine "kid reporter" contest. But LaBrie was already an experienced reporter before landing the Time gig. He runs a handwritten neighborhood weekly that has roughly 250 subscribers paying 25 cents an issue.

Brennan LaBrennan LaBrie: a veteran journalist at age 10 Ina Fried/CNET

Because his hometown, Port Townsend, Wash., is so close, the folks at Time suggested he come to the Games for a day.

That wasn't enough for LaBrie though, who said one day just wasn't sufficient to do the kind of reporting he wanted to do.

"I'm all about people," LaBrie told me. "I believe everyone has a great story."

So LaBrie sought additional funds from neighbors and family, raising more than $1,400 so he can spend a week covering the games.

Thus far, LaBrie hasn't made it inside to see any events firsthand, but that hasn't seemed to slow him down.

"We just go to the big screens and get real close," said Brennan's mom, Colleen LaBrie.

iPhone as reporting tool
Speaking of younger journalists, I've also been sharing the press room with a team of student journalists testing out a tool that turns the iPhone into a multimedia reporting machine.

VeriCorder, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, has a $5.99 iPhone app for audio recording, is just about ready with a $7.99 multimedia version (photos and sound), and hopes to have a video version ready in time for a broadcasting trade show in April.

VeriCorder's software works with a standard iPhone, though it is seen here with a third-party attachment that adds an external lens and microphone. Ina Fried/CNET

To both test and promote the technology, Vericorder has brought in student journalists from the U.S. and Canada to cover the Olympics using the technology.

"We think they adopt technology a little more quickly," said Vericorder senior VP David Barkwell. "We thought it would be a tremendous experience for them. It was also a way for us to really put our technology to the test."

University of Missouri journalism professor Karen Mitchell said that using the iPhone has a side benefit for the younger reporters. Its wide-angle lens doesn't let them work from too far away from their subjects.

"It forces them to get close to people," Mitchell said. "Once they get close they find better stories. They get intimate. They ask different questions."

Mitchell, who has been editing the students' work, is an Olympics veteran, having previously covered the Atlanta and Sydney games as a photo editor for Gannett and the Associated Press.

Talkin tech'
I had a chance to talk Olympic tech with CNET Blog Network member Larry Magid on his podcast earlier on Thursday.

It runs about eight minutes long.

Podcast


And if, for some reason, you want even more coverage from the Games, I am contributing to a blog on CBSSports.com that has some more sports-related posts, in addition to the technology-centered ones I am filing for CNET.

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About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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