Seriously, this is making my stomach hurt.

The telephone is still the best friend of any sports journalist. Discover proven strategies to stop the shocking reality of phone interviews.

Seriously, this is making my stomach hurt.

The telephone is the best friend of any (sports) journalist. In a life before the Internet, editors called at the sports venues to get informed about results in order to publish them in their newspapers. Hard to believe in times when a push notifications pops up each time our favourite teams scores. The world has changed but the telephone is still the best friend of any (sports) journalist.

The major part of stories are still made on the phone. Journalists call athletes in order to get them quoted in the newspapers. This fact is shocking to me since I started working in sports communication.

Even if I have to say that the situation has become much better over the years. I remember receiving roster lists with phone numbers of all players that were sent out as press releases. Nowadays "only" selected journalists have a list of private phone numbers of the athletes stored in their address book on their smartphones.

The shocking reality of phone interviews 😱

As general managers and communication employees of sports organizations we obviously want the media to talk to our athletes in order to get media coverage. But every time an athlete talks with a journalist on the phone, this is making my stomach hurt. Why?

1️⃣ By having journalists calling your athletes you as an organization don't have control over the message. Keeping your hands on image and publicity shouldn't be misunderstood that you're not letting your athletes say what they want. Professional athletes know their responsibility and what they say and what not is up to them. But for us its important to know what has been said. And that in near-real time - not the day after through the news.

2️⃣ In times when everybody is talking about privacy, sharing private phone numbers of your employees is also not the best way. Some sports organizations provide their athletes with business phones or at least its written in their contracts, that phone numbers will be shared with the media. But still, I do have my concerns sharing phone numbers. Don't you?

3️⃣ Bad timing is part of the game. Reaching an athlete at the wrong time could bring you as a journalist a great quote. And keep in mind that the best journalists are persistent. They are calling several times and at all possible hours. Its not unusual trying to reach out to athletes hours after a game in the middle of the night.

Finding the best solution for your organization 🤯

According to the problems (lack of control, privacy issues, bad timings) as sports organization we still want to let journalists and athletes connect at a most convenience way.

We do have the choice of several solutions – each with pro and cons.

*️⃣ - Star Solution
The so called dail-up systems are working via normal telephone connections. One method is to let the player call the journalist simply by hiding its number. Another method we did a lot was setting up a group call. And a third option is the implementation and use of a voice-over-ip telephone software system.

As you can imagine the first two options are risky to failures and the third is coming up with monthly costs for maintaining such a software solution.

*️⃣ *️⃣ - Star Solution
With the growth of video conferencing tools like Zoom this brought up a new possibility to connect athletes with journalists. Setting up a Zoom call is easy, calling in is easy, getting the registered sound file is great.

Sounds like a perfect match but its still not the best case according to our needs. Athletes have to be prepared, they have to take care of their clothes and objects surrounding them in the video. Its nice for longer sit-down-interviews but its simply too much for a three-minute-talk.

*️⃣ *️⃣ *️⃣ - Star Solution
My heart beats faster when it comes to audio rooms as a solution for connecting athletes with journalists. Its the most similar solution to the old-fashion telephone interviews. And as we want to contribute and help sports organizations solving their problems with shocking telephone interviews, we have decided to build a free service for that.

Do you know about WeTransfer for sending huge files? Our service follows the same simple approach. MixedZone.rocks is the simplest way to let athletes talk with journalists. Its free and open for everyone. Give it a try at https://mixedzone.rocks and spread the word to your friends.

Let's think in new ways and go #BeyondVictories,

Christian Dreier
cd mediateam Est.

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