Media tribune #3, Antonio Casale, a multitasking Colombian journalist with a radio heart
Antonio Casale during Brazil 2014. His first World Cup was Germany 2006.
by Constanza Mora Pedraza
Antonio Casale is one of the most respected journalists in Colombia, and an example for new generations of sports journalists. He began as an announcer at the midnight and early morning shift, in one of the most important radio stations in the country, and in 1999 he became a sports journalist, a dream he has since he was a child. He decided to be simple and informal, without losing analysis.
At that time, he had many detractors; colleagues that saw him as a threat and that criticised him for his voice, and veterans that did not share his informal way of doing radio journalism, because his uncomplicated language. Casale is passionate about radio (having worked for RCN Radio, Caracol Radio, FM), but has also worked in television (Claro Sports, RCN, Win Sports) and written for one of the two most important newspapers in the country, El Espectador.
-What do you like most about sports journalism?
-Without a doubt that I can dedicate myself to what I dreamed when I was a child, which was something related to sports and media, so in some way I am a child every day.
-What are the biggest challenges that sports journalism must face nowadays?
-The need to be a multisport journalist, not to know just about football, but understand other sports. On the other hand, rigour, attention to detail are increasingly high, because of social media, because of fake news, memes... People are more demanding and any mistake is practically unforgivable, so you have to be more precise, more accurate every day. I think that is the way to face these new challenges.
-What is the best or most important coverage you have done, and why?
-My first football World Cup, Germany 2006. I did it for Caracol Radio. It was important because it was a dream come true. I did it as a reporter … I saw Italy in the final!! And many very positive things happened there.
-What have you learned that you want to share with others?
-I have learned that accuracy is very important, that anyone who wants to learn from this career has to get involved, to be in the "jungle", to understand how to get the news, what is the treatment we have to give to them, and then, because today everyone wants to give their opinion, maybe move to the opinion table; but first we have to do reporting, it is fundamental. I thought it was not that important but yes, it is.
-The profession is constantly changing. What’s the current situation in Colombia?
-There is a massive challenge. There are more media outlets, more digital media, there is more competition, more channels, more broadcasters… but on the other hand, there are more opportunities. When I started there were only two radio stations, two newspapers and two channels, so in that sense things have changed positively
Casale has interviewed a number of football stars, including Clarence Seedorf.
-What do you think about the AIPS Sport Media Awards, the first international prize of its kind?
-I think it is a good opportunity to give us the importance that many times journalism does not give to us. For many people, sports journalism is the less important branch of the profession, and that's partly because we have not worried ourselves in praising what we do and giving it the value it deserve. Today, sports journalism demands more human stories, go under the surface and find a real angle, beyond the result of a sports game, so it is good to have this kind of stimulus. I love the initiative.
-How can a prize of this kind help future generations of journalists?
-I think that, precisely as a stimulus, these are the motivations and the desire; clearly no one here is going to be a millionaire for being a sports journalist, so these opportunities are very positive.
-What’s your preferred format for consuming news?
-I have always been a radio man, I carry it in my veins and in my heart, I was born listening it, so for me radio is fundamental. I also inform myself through social media, and I follow some accounts, so I get up and check twitter, also five or six websites, but for the analysis I prefer the radio.
-You’ve worked in newspapers, TV channels and radio. What would like the most and why?
-Radio it is. Many times, what you write cannot be expressed as you really want to express it, while on radio you have a lot of help for people to imagine. Radio is a theater of imagination and in that sense has an indescribable magic. That's why I love radio, not because it's easier, but because it seems more magical to me.
Alongside Colombian full-back Gerardo Bedoya, after an interview for Claro Sports.
-What is the advice you would give to a younger self that is just starting in the profession?
-Have restraint and know how to endure, because sometimes I challenged "sacred cows" of sports journalism, as we say here (journalists that have been in the media industry for years). I did not think they were so overwhelming in their personal interests, and that has made my personal race more delayed than I would have liked. But at the same time I think that having the courage to challenge them gave me some authority, despite it has definitely made things more difficult.
-Have you ever been a victim of fake news in your career?
-Yes, of course…. That taught me to be more rigorous, to take care of the sources. I think we have all learned from this.
-Being more connected to readers through social networks, made the profession better or more difficult?
-I try not to be connected with readers in social media, only for what is necessary. I have learned to laugh, there are people that you think are violent, but then you know them and you realise that what they want is to have a sense of humor. At the end we are not talking about serial killers, then you also have to laugh little bit. I am simply convinced that the virtual world is very different from the real world.
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