Media Tribune #8, Diego Arcos and his journey from sport to sport journalism, non-stop

  • July 10, 2018

Diego Arcos (centre) with his colleagues Vito Muñoz and Carlos Morales at the Barcelona de Guayaquil stadium.

by Constanza Maria Pedraza

He is one of the most famous sport journalists in Ecuador, working for TC Television, DirecTV and Radio Diblu, but Diego Arcos' life has been linked to sport since his childhood. In his youth he was a high-level baseball player, and when he could not practise it anymore, he decided to report it. Passion flows through his veins when he talks about it.

-What do you like the most about sport journalism?
-I love sports. I was an athlete, practising sport at a high level, and I know how important and necessary is to know how to transmit it. I can be covering and reporting for 24/7 and I have an obsession for constantly being informed about every detail of many sports, as well as its technical and historical sides, so the people that are listening can receive the best information. What I like the most about sport journalism is being there, living the joy, the drama of what happens and, of course, making friends.

-What are the challenges that the current sport journalism must face?
-Media nowadays make you evolve because, as professionals, we must constantly ask ourselves: “What am I going to do today to be better? Sport journalism and journalism in general, face the challenge that there is more competition in the world and we have to try to live up to the immediacy that exists and realise that this immediacy is not necessarily always effective. I think the biggest challenge is that despite the big change that has been in the way people read news today or follow the reporters, they continue to believe in you as a traditional journalist.

-What is the best or most comforting coverage you have done and that have left an impression in your career?
-I believe that each coverage has something special. There are some that can be uncomfortable or unpleasant because you did not have the resources that you wanted, so I wouldn’t say that all of them are beautiful, wonderful or comforting. But I remember in a special way when Liga de Quito were the Copa Libertadores 2008 champions, because Ecuador had not had great achievements at sports or football level, and everything changed that night, even journalists were seen differently, as winners. I felt the same in Atlanta 96 when Jefersson Pérez won a gold medal for Ecuador and I felt the same when Ecuador went to the second round at the FIFA World Cup in Germany 2006. But on the other hand I love working in the Baseball World Series, because I can meet journalists from all over the world, covering an event that maybe is not so popular in their countries, but it becomes popular for 15 days.

-What things did you learn and from whom that you want to share with others?
-In this career you learn every day and from many people, I can name bosses that at the moment realised I was not giving my 100% and they told me to do it for the good of my work. Alfredo Adum was that journalist that one day told me that my reports were not up to the standards that I was used to, so he instantly let me know. I can mention the creativity of another boss, Alvaro Freire, who is always trying to see that extra detail of the news, to generate another kind of vision. I can name Alfonso Harb, who showed me the ability to draw a diagram so nothing is left out. There are those that taught me to edit, to write, even to be a cameraman. I can remember a lot of people. The question is good because as I try to remember, a teacher comes quickly to my head. He told me something interesting that I will never forget, while working on documentaries, "Remember that this is audiovisual…. Audiovisual…. audio first, because usually everyone worries about video and forget how important audio is”.

-This career is constantly changing. What is the current situation in your country?
-I work most of the year in Ecuador, although I have coverages in Buenos Aires and Miami. But I can say that the country is changing a lot in the way of how easily people assimilate fake news. People have learned to believe something quickly. But also the positive of all this is that we are in a transition in which people that consume news is slowly beginning to realise that it is necessary to confirm, and for that, they need to turn to the professionals that have always been there.

Diego Arcos getting ready to interview Ecuador manager Gustavo Quinteros during the qualifiers for Russia 2018.

-What do you think of the organisation of an international prize, such as the AIPS Sport Media Awards, open to professionals from 160 countries?
-The prizes are always going to be nice, they look good on your CV and more when in one or another way they explain who you are. I like that the AIPS Sport Media Awards exist, I like that this journalist association exists, because it is important to be together, to know how we think and exchange ideas to improve. And I think the most praiseworthy is that the prize comes from the hands of the same professionals who know you. Many times someone can choose you because they see you on TV or listen to you on the radio or read you, and consider that what you did was fine maybe because you used their same words. I will not judge it here. But when the award comes from the same professionals, from your colleagues who are from 160 countries, it's different, it's special and the AIPS prize that I have I really valued it and took it with a lot of pride

-How can a prize of this kind help future generations of journalists?
-A prize like this one in particular -and I am going to talk about what I am seeing from the journalistic generations that are coming- can help you to remember that this is called sport journalism. You do not necessarily have to watch a magazine from the 1960s or to watch a TV show from the 70s, to realise how sport journalism was much more active before. Today there are more specialisations, and I do not see it badly, but I think that this award means that we will remember that we are sport journalists, that we do not cover just one discipline, and I think it is something that today is confusing young generations who seek only to get to broadcast a football game and succeed, when there are so many sports, there is so much world outside and so much possibility of having action in different places, and that is what they forget. These Awards remind everyone that we are sport journalists, that we must have the ability to cover many disciplines and do so with quality.

-Speaking of evolution, what’s your preferred format for consuming news?
-I am an information junkie and I usually consume everything: paper, tablet, television, web and radio. I consume everything that generates information, since I get up very early in the morning until I go to bed at night I am constantly consuming what is within my reach. I try to be traditional and I like to read the newspaper every morning, I like to take the paper in my hands and if I cannot do it, I turn to technology. I like to read opinion, I like to see information, I like to see styles, and of course, along the way we make our preferences, and I also like to generate the news, because as a journalist I do not like to be just someone who reads news but someone who generate them.

-Which advice would you give to your younger self?
-If today I met Diego Arcos as a 17 or 18-year-old, I would say: This is going to change a lot, get ready because what you think you know right now is not going to be anything after a few years. This is going to be one of the careers that are going to change more radically, so you have no idea what's going to happen in the future.

-Between radio and writing, what do you like the most and why?
-What a difficult question, it's like asking me which son is my favourite. When the pen flows and I say pen because now we do it in computers, but when the pen or the letters flow is like to enter a spectacular dimension, it is like to live in a sovereign world, just like when you are in a comfortable radio studios and you can talk. I like both, no matter how lyrical or diplomatic my answer sounds, I like both in a special way, deep and powerful.

Interviewing Colombian coach Reinaldo Rueda.

-Have you ever been a victim of fake news in your career?
-I have an obsession with fake news and with denying them. Usually I am seen as unfriendly because I do not believe anything people say, when someone tells me something I always tell them, if your mom tells you she loves you, check it out. I cover sport, but I also have a specialisation in film, and I write about it and art and in the TV channel where I worked, I have given the fake news department, because they consider me a good denial or proof of this type of news. Yes, maybe a couple of times some important media companies fell into some fake news and I also thought it where real, like the little boy in Syria, where have been said his brother had saved him, I believed that news and then those who made it up came out to tell that it was a lie. If I was part of a fake news? I believe that not until now, fortunately. I have not fallen into what I consider today to be terrorism in communications.

-Do you think that being more connected to the readers and listeners through social media has made the profession better or more difficult?-I believe that our work has more challenges and gave us more resources to be able to work. I do not think it has flown easier or harder, it has become more interesting, the options and challenges you have today have grown, the number of people reporting, the amount of resources you have, the amount of competition you have. But it seems to me that it became more interesting, more valuable, and as it becomes more interesting it shows you why you like it so much and why everyone is going to have better information options.

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