Reporting in the “ideal world”
Of course, since there is a lot of badmouthing about the reporters, there should be some more general guidelines somewhere on what good reporting should look like.
In addition, this one essential aspect should be said in advance: should you ever get the idea in this country – which you just don’t do and don’t consider necessary in the country of the outright “inventor of football”, who wins all competitions or at least should win — at least If you only look so far beyond the end of your own nose to take note of what is happening abroad and that there are definitely alternative forms of processing, then you would already be a good step ahead. Nowhere is it so sad, so bored, so condescending, so derogatory, so contemptuous as in this country. It is enough to hear the tone of any foreign report to sense that something like fascination, joy, enthusiasm is at play here.
At the same time, every journalist working for football should of course ask themselves what makes a journalist a journalist? How and why was the profession chosen, what originally inspired you, what fascinated you, what task did you devote yourself to, what could enthrall a viewer/listener?
It is precisely in this question that one would have found most of the answer: fascination and enthusiasm. Actually, you should enter this profession because you want to get the big story across to the man, want to be there, preferably live, and this spectacle – which unfortunately can also be tragedies in individual cases, but thanks to sensationalism or conceivable sympathy , to be “consumed” with pleasure and greedily – to bring the viewer closer, to draw him into the action, to tie him up, to carry him away, to either push him into the armchair biting his nails or to tear him out of it, to touch him emotionally, an experience for him to give him the great experience that he will never forget. The viewer/listener wants to be well entertained and well informed. Both have their relevance and demand their place. Nobody wants a well-researched report that is poorly edited, and you see, a luridly edited report, in which the facts are wrong, falls through just like that, just doesn’t work.
And should there really only be sour pickles on offer at times or unluckily (often in the “summer slump”?), then you would have to make them as tasty as possible yourself so that they seem like a treat to the viewer/listener and he eats them with the perceived flavor truffle, champagne, caviar.
Most football reporters seem to have forgotten this background. According to the assessment represented here, “thanks” (or: owed?) to the fact that the sport is gigantic and everyone is waiting spellbound for the next game to kick off, something like this: “Today is football, the big spectacle and watching Anyway, everyone, so it’s only important that I look good, the ratings are secured, one way or another.”
However, this belief is fundamentally wrong. One would have the urgent task, long ago, to work on the processing. The spectators are much more likely to run away than to barge in in droves.
A true professional, one is forced to interpret, is simply not enthusiastic because he has seen it all. He has to be sober, factual, analytical, critical. He is not at all happy about what he has to report. Especially since there is a problem: if you were enthusiastic (or would be) you would have to fear being dismissed as a layman who claims to have seen some nice action but has overlooked the numerous errors and shortcomings – as the true expert supposedly does.
Good, so the approach via the negative rail again, and that unintentionally. Instead, the positive approach: you would have the great spectacle of offering the story par excellence – and that’s how it should sound. That would
Rule number 1: a good game takes place, ok, or indeed a game without the big scenes: it must be the reporter’s job to make the game entertaining, with a tone of voice that betrays suspense, and with working out the gripping scenes , if necessary with stories in between that convey interesting things worth knowing, but only in exceptional cases and in moments when the ball is still, out of the game.
Rule 2 still applies: Concentrate on the game. The ball is running, so the run of the ball is tracked and commented on. “Heynckes to Netzer, Netzer back to Heynckes, Hucky Wimmer takes over, pulls away – over it.” Just one example. Could have been Overath, Müller or Beckenbauer…
Rule 3: No constant judgments. Adjectives are welcome if they can positively illuminate the game. So “good cross” always works, “strong duel” too. However, “weak shot” is not appropriate. The viewer must be captivated. If you use negative adjectives too often, you have to ask yourself: “Why don’t I prefer to watch the show with the mouse? Something is happening there AND it is positive.”
Rule 4: No generalities. Every game, every player, every scene is unique and worth seeing. Anything that represents a generalization quickly turns into boredom. “Always the same knitting pattern.” Yes, if what the self-appointed expert recognized was ever true: who would want to hear that or follow what’s happening? “The game of the red and yellow is left-heavy.” The viewer should then think: “I have to see that. left-heavy? Wow!” Quite the opposite. Any commonplace spoils excitement and joy. Away with it.
Rule 5: There are winners and losers. The loser has added to the spectacle of the game. He deserves the same respect. If, according to the reporter, he had done “too little”, then – remember old master Herberger (you are as good as your opponent allows) – only because the other had “too much” to counter. So, just as the glass should be half full rather than half empty, the basic assumption also applies here: one was good and not the other weak. In today’s examples, according to the reporter, both are often weak, without him caring about “entertainment value”.
Rule 6: The end result is whatever finds entry in the table. Good. Anyone can read results and tables. But what the viewer wants to know: how did it come about? Who was good, who was less good? There is a certain connection, namely that the better wins more often, but it is by no means the case in all cases. A distinction must be made between the quality of the service and the bare result. So a loser could very often reap regrets rather than stupid questions about the durability of the trainer. A winner would not always be one to celebrate.
Rule 7: There are these things like good luck and bad luck. You don’t lose your expert status by calling a particular game outcome “lucky”. On the contrary: it would make the true expert to be able to distinguish between them and to have the courage to say so. This victory was happy, that deserved.
Rule 8: There is such a thing as “fair play”. The pure demand for results ensures that this fair play idea recedes more and more into the background and “dirty victories” take its place. This is certain: the viewer enjoys the grand gestures, which are obviously not aimed at “winning – choice of means: it doesn’t matter”. Task for the rapporteurs: do not just look at the results and tables. The viewer would accept that gladly and immediately and gratefully. We don’t want to “force the win somehow” but we want to entertain the spectators, we want to play fairly and we want to play attractively. These are the targets, which, however, would first have to be proclaimed and represented by the media.
Rule 9: Even if a reporter were smart enough and/or could foresee something, anticipate the outcome of the game or recognize a “one-way street” early on, he would still have the task of keeping the tension high. So a “cover on it”, “read the fair” or “the drop is sucked”, because after 62 minutes the score is 2-0 is the opposite of that – and sometimes even wrong, like almost all other slander unfortunately. Even a single scene does not permit this anticipatory description. “He waits far too long, slows down, should have played a long time ago, plays cross instead of shooting” or whatever platitudes you hear: even if it were ever right, rule 9 is: “You do it exciting, no matter how much you know yourself or how bored you are with football yourself.” And the last impression is created when you listen to a modern-day reporter long enough at “his work”, which he is, according to his wording, just commenting on : “Let’s watch them at work today.”
The following rules relate to conducting interviews. Also a brief introduction about how they are currently managed, how it used to be and how it should be. Part 2 and Part 3 of which show a high degree of congruence.
The grievance in a nutshell: the questioner feels at eye level with the interviewee. Just knowing the table and the most recent results seems sufficient to him. Because nobody can ignore them. At least that is the common and represented opinion of the media representatives. However, this is entirely wrong.
An interview used to be conducted like this – and presumably this is also how it is recorded and taught in the “rules” for prospective journalists: the questioner is well prepared and knows his way around the subject area so that he can ask meaningful questions. It is by no means one of his tasks to know the answers to the questions asked. The true expert sits (or stands) across from him. The viewer is interested in the statements of the true expert and not in the commonplace opinions of the questioner. The common practice reversed.
Rule 10 is: the questioner has a real proven expert, often a real star, in front of the microphone. With good questions, that’s the task for the questioner, he could find out a lot of interesting things that interest the viewer.
Rule 11: no duels of speech. The questioner will never reach eye level. The star is the interviewee, the questioner may step into the background, can only shine with cleverly asked questions if he really wants to.
Rule 12: no probing, insistent questions, based on pure results. “They lost. Why?” Answer: “We conceded an unfortunate goal and later didn’t get a clear penalty.” “Aren’t you making it too easy for yourself?”. Embarrassing, stupid, thoughtless. At the same time probing and insisting on an answer that is incorrect and that one could give oneself at the same time. “We were bad.” And then the game would have been “enlightened” and at the same time the true addressee, the spectator at home, would have been offered what he wanted to know?
Rule 13: no leading questions. These usually only allow one answer, which the questioner apparently insists on. He would certainly object, but resistance is the more common reaction. This leads either to an unequal duel of words or to a respondent who reacts in a reserved manner and only wants to get the interview over with as quickly as possible. Not in the interest of the cause and not in the interest of the viewer.