Elbows out, dictaphones at the ready — let battle commence

June 11, 2008

A post-training mixed zoneFor most football fans, it would be a dream come true — go along and meet your favourite player and ask him anything you want.

That is the deluded view that led me to be excited when I was sent to my first “mixed zone”,  where players are available for quick interviews as they walk past reporters when leaving the stadium after a match.

Bruised and battered from a lot of tactical shoving and suffering from a severe overdose of testosterone (not ideal when you’re a woman), I’m thinking more war zone than mixed zone.

Elbows fly as dozens of hungry newshounds battle for position in the hope of getting a juicy quote — or most likely yet another tired cliché — from the player of the moment. You have to pick your position: avoid standing next to a cameraman (that’s a big bit of equipment to be hit with, trust me I know) and avoid anyone who may have dubious personal hygiene (you are going to get very close to them).

Then all you have to do is get the players’ attention while they saunter past looking like they really can’t be bothered.

One cunning ploy that I have noticed several times, particularly by radio and television journalists, is to bring along a beautiful woman (who definitely didn’t spend the last 90 minutes cramped in the media tribune hunched over a laptop) to act as bait to hook the player for an interview. Once they have reeled him in with a few pleasantries, the men ask the ‘proper’ questions.

I look on enviously, wondering why I have my nose up someone’s sweaty armpit, a dead arm from holding my dictaphone at an impossible angle and cramp from standing on tip-toes in the middle of the big huddle of reporters. Oh, and I can’t breathe because I am crushed against the barrier that keeps the poor footballers out of harm’s way. Thankfully, I’ve got a quote.

Forget elbowing and barging, next time I’m coming armed with some sharp stilettos…

PHOTO: Czech Republic’s Michal Kadlec listens to journalists’ questions after a training session in Seefeld, June 4, 2008. REUTERS/Petr Josek

For full coverage of Euro 2008 see here


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This is too funny to be true. It’s a zoo and the journalists are the animals in search of ‘food’. Surely there must be a way to get a better system than that?

Posted by Erik Kirschbaum | Report as abusive

Ohhhh….it brings back memories!! very funny….hope you are sharpening your elbows for the next one!

Posted by martyn herman | Report as abusive

Spot on!

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

Typical Reuters, trying to save money by rolling our own beautiful woman and ace reporter into one package.

Posted by warren | Report as abusive

The glamorous female sidekick as bait trick is incredibly frustrating, but at the same time sheer genius!