Media Tribune #10, Jaime Macias and the tools of the Next Generation: podcasts, infographics and valuable analysis
Jaime Macias works for beIN Sports in Spanish. He has covered three World Cups.
by Martin Mazur
Barely in his late 20s, the impressive CV of Jaime Macias reads that he works for beIN Sports in the United States, has covered three World Cups and has brought some innovative elements to the profession: video analysis on Facebook, infographics for social media… He has more than 250,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The kind of things that media outlets are betting on now, he has been doing it for years. His creative process always starts with two words: curiosity and doubt.
-How did you decide to produce your own personalised infographics for social media?
-Actually more than deciding to produce them, I have decided to get them published. Everything starts with the way I prepare myself. Most journalists use Word, and I don’t know why but I use Excel. Most of the infographics were made for my personal use, notes with curious facts from a sporting fact. With time, I realised that I was not the only one interested in those things, and it turned out to be a good product.
-What do you like the most about sports journalism?
-The possibility of finding answers to my curiosity. As sport journalists we have the advantage of knowing that a certain day, on a certain time, there will be an event, and that always brings questions and lots of curiosity. One of the key aspects in this profession is preparation, there is not such thing as being “over-prepared”: there is always something that we don’t know. Asking questions to yourself and finding those answers is fundamental.
-What are the biggest challenges of the profession now?
-Sport journalism is the only branch of journalism in which almost 99% of the contents are exclusive to a particular media outlet that bought its rights. It is a huge challenge for journalists, because on top of your individual skills, the rights of the media outlet you work for, or the lack of rights, can mark your career. This has brought a more unstable market, as journalists are moving from one workplace to another following the road of the rights.
-What’s the coverage that you’ve enjoyed the most and why?
-The World Cup in South Africa, for TC Television and Cable Deportes in Ecuador. There are different elements that made it truly special: first of all I was not expecting it, I was 21 and at the moment I was a freelancer. It was the first coverage that gave me interaction with the international press and I set my goal to work for one of those big networks one day. Finally I’m doing it now, and I’m working for some of the people that I’ve met in that World Cup.
"The AIPS Sport Media Awards is like the Golden Ball of sport journalism," says Macias.
-What lessons have you learned and from whom?
-We all have “journalistic fathers” that have offered a great guidance in our profession, and in my case those are Diego Arcos and Eduardo Biscayart. But in the end you need to try to learn from everyone, the good one, the not so good one, the one that wants to teach you and the one that does not. Everybody has virtues, it’s a matter of finding them and trying to use them for your career. Without a chance of being wrong, I can say that I’ve learned from every colleague that worked with me.
-The profession is constantly changing. What is the current situation in your country?
-It is not just in my country. We are in the transition to digital television, from cable TV to the apps. Media outlets from all over the world are trying to see who hits it first in this new road, to then follow the lead.
-What do you think about the creation of the AIPS Sport Media Awards?
-This is extraordinary, the highest accolade for our profession. There are certain countries that acknowledge and offer recognition to their journalists, but the AIPS Sport Media Awards are the only ones that offer a world impact. It is like the Golden Ball for sport journalism.
-How can a prize like this help to the future generations of sports journalists?
-In many ways, first of all buy setting the goal or the objective to win it, just like the Pulitzer or the Nobel, to cite other examples. But there’s also the possibility of meeting new people and opening doors to the professional growth of each other, something that today only happens during sporting events, rather than in journalism summits.
Very active in social media, Macias have more than 250,000 combined followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
-What’s your favourite platform for consuming news?
-As a user I’ve become a big fan of podcasts, specific content at the time and place that you want to consume it. From the professional point of view, I enjoy very much the shows that offer analysis, in TV and on the radio.
-What is the advice you would give to a younger self that is just starting in the profession?
-I would say to my younger self not to be so anxious, to have a little bit of mind peace, but not because the decisions I’ve made were wrong. I would do exactly the same, always trying to be where things are happening, always knocking on every possible door, because sooner or later, one will open.
-Do you think that being more connected to the public through social media has made the profession better or more difficult?
-It has made it different, less informative when it comes to breaking news, but more analytical and with an editorial view on how to react to those news that are easily spread. Also social media changed the market: first you would get hired and slowly became known, and now, to some extent, it is the opposite: you became known and that’s why they hire you.
-Were you ever a victim of fake news in your career?
-Luckily I was not. The market has everything, and in social media, you have the power to decide who you follow. The veracity of the information depends on the source, but in the digital age, the source and the reporter are usually the same.
Media tribune is presented by AIPS Sport Media Awards, a bridge to the future of sport journalism. Divided in 6 main categories, the Awards are a celebration of the best sport storytellers from around the world. Submissions for professionals are free and open until September 17, 2018. Find more and submit your work in www.aipsawards.com