Media Tribune #9, Hernan Pelaez, a life devoted to sport and journalism
Hernán Peláez in the studios of WRadio, in Colombia.
by Constanza Mora Pedraza
He loved football as a young college student, he played the game at the age of ten, but a knee injury spoiled his boyhood dreams of turning professional. Peláez looked to the next best thing and dedicated his life to sports journalism. He transmitted his knowledge to generations of Colombians and is the country’s most recognisable sport journalist. At 21, he featured as a special guest at a radio station in his native Cali. His love for the profession grew and he cast aside his ambitions of chemical engineer. Today, after more than 50 years in the industry, Pelaez remains one of the great references. He is still active as a radio broadcaster and TV commentator.
-What do you like most about sports journalism?
-The information and its immediate derivative, which is opinion. And being in contact with that beautiful and complex setting that is sport. In addition, the feelings this profession is able to produce in our audience.
-What are the challenges that current sports journalism must face?
-The biggest challenge is knowing the truth and being able to spread it, knowing how to eliminate fake news and speculation. The speed in social media and the web are temptations that undermine the credibility that a sport journalist must possess.
-What things did you learn in this profession that you want to share with others?
-To be careful, accurate and precise. To learn to handle different languages for each platform. The news is one and how to tell it is another. Interpreting it is an exercise that must be done thinking about who will receive it.
-What is the current state of sport journalism in Colombia?
-It is the same everywhere, globalisation has taken us to that. It is knowing how to interpret journalism genuinely. Every day we have more resources and help. It's a decoy, but breaking it down is our duty.
-What do you think about the AIPS Sport Media Awards?
-I think it is necessary, as a stimulus for the media professionals. And of course is the opportunity to check with other writers or broadcasters, what we are doing.
With former Colombia & Inter defender Iván Córdoba.
-How can a prize like this help to the future generations of sport journalists?
-By knowing new models and interpretations of the job, new generations can see and get to know mirrors or models for their work. Without those mirrors, it will be very difficult for them.
-What’s your favourite platform for consuming sport news?
-Tablet and print. And lately also football books, such as biographies and analysis.
-Which advice would you give to your younger self, that is just starting in this profession?
-To study, to know the subject and to be passionate about it.
-You’ve worked in TV, radio, print. What’s your favourite?
-Radio was always the place where I felt better. Because I was born with it and I got used to being in contact with many listeners. I enjoy it like any player in any sport ... enjoy and not suffer for the result. We must feel good and full of what we do.
-Have you ever been a victim of fake news?
-I do not remember! Of course, with attentive ears, we hear everything and we must have a sieve to establish the truth. Only like this, we can trust handling the news and communicating them.
-Do you think that being more connected to the readers and listeners through social media has made the profession better or more difficult?
-I see that relation as an aid. A criticism, an observation and in fact a source to build a journalistic history.
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