April 30, 2018
Issue 4 2018
On the Line

Meta-journalism: Interviews with athletes can wait

For sports fans, an interview with Beaver after he saved the day at the 2011 Rugby World Cup or a Q and A Katrina Grant after the Silver Ferns’ upset at the recent Commonwealth Games, can be as exciting as the match itself.

As consumers, we rely on these half-time and post-match interviews for raw emotion. They’re also fundamental in sports journalism. In saying this, don’t players deserve to compose themselves before being bombarded by reporters?

At this month’s Commonwealth Games, flagbearer Sophie Pascoe won gold in the SM 200 individual medley. Immediately after her race a microphone and camera were shoved in her face for an interview. Afterwards, the Paralympian was so exhausted and dehydrated she collapsed.

It was clear Pascoe was knackered as she puffed through the questions.

“How are you feeling?” the reporter asked.

“Buggered!” she slurred. But her slurring and dazed gaze weren’t enough for the reporter to conclude the interview.

Pascoe finished the interview and promptly turned to her coach asking for water. She stumbled off and collapsed into the arms of assisting staff.

This is a more extreme example of how post-match interviews can be. However, exhausted athletes are often seen on our tellies as they battle through their questions.

Cricketers have the added pressure of in-match interviews. Boundary fielders are occasionally mic’d-up so commentators can question them during play.

Black Cap and Northern Nights bowler Anton Devcich is no stranger to these interviews. He told On The Line what it’s like being interviewed mid-game.

“When you get interviewed during a game you speak with emotion and forget all the things you should and should not say. This has been to my detriment at times,” Devcich says.

“During the game they [interviews] can be distracting, especially if you are in a position which requires a lot of movement, for example you’re trying to respond to the question, keep an eye on captain, watch the batter or bowler and then execute your skills on top of all those distractions.”

Massey lecturer and journalist James Hollings also has experience with the assertive nature of reporters. 

“Reporters are just doing their jobs and these days it’s their jobs to be as up to date as possible, as digital media has made everything instantaneous,” he says.

However, he does agree reporters need to exercise some restraint.

“if an athlete is clearly busy or unwell, it’s not only wrong but makes the journalist look bad too. There’s not much lost by waiting a few moments; in fact, it probably adds to the drama of the occasion.”

So, whether you’re a Journalism major, a budding reporter, or a citizen journalist I beg you. Give our athletes a moment to grab a drink, warm-down, or take a second before pounding them with your questions.

Pass or play:

Roller derby- think 2009’s film Whip it - bad-ass men and women zoom around a track on roller skates.

It’s a fast-paced, full-contact, five-aside sport predominantly played by Women.

Each team selects a 'Jammer' who is identified by the star on their helmet. A Jammer gains points by lapping members of the opposing team. The remainder of the team attempt to hinder the opposing Jammer while assisting their own.

New Zealand have a national Roller Derby team called Aotearoa Roller Derby who placed 10th in this year’s World Champs held in Manchester in February.

There are over 25-roller derby clubs across New Zealand. However, there is no official roller derby organisation so joining a local club requires some googling.

More info below:

Wellington: http://www.richtercity.co.nz/

Auckland: http://aucklandrollerderby.com/get-involved/

Palmerston North: https://www.sportmanawatu.org.nz/find-your-sport-2/roller-derby/

Ponder that:

Baseballs were originally made from the foreskin of horses!