Thursday, October 22, 2015

Experts of a different kind


Level Field

Some people are of the opinion that local TV commentators and football pundits should perhaps apply for the national coach's job.
After all, they question the tactics, line-ups, substitution, formation and just about every move the coach makes on the field.
And this sort of commenting is not confined to Malaysian football but also encroaches on international football.
Yes, we have among the commentators a few ex-national players who have earned a few international caps, some who have played at state level and one or two coaches with minimum experiences. But some of them are no footballers.
Of course, times have changed in sports commentary and fans are more knowledgeable and expect expert opinions. For that, we need credible people.
Numerous sports fans have told me they turn off the commentary because they find it intrusive and irritating. But then again, there are those who love the commentaries and want to give their ‘expert’ views too. That sometime makes the coverage different and more interesting.
What is unbearable is when the commentators jump up from their chairs and start screaming when Malaysia scores a goal. How professional is that?
Without doubt, there are mixed views on the subject. Some love the commentators while others turn off the volume or switch channels when it is commentary time.
“Most of them do not know their job. As a commentator, one has to bring the game to the audience and present the facts and figures to help listeners enjoy the broadcast, be it on radio or television," a veteran sports commentator Datuk Rahim Razali told Malay Mail last week. 
“But these days, commentators have become analysts with little knowledge of the sport or qualification to comment. The rule in journalism is to avoid saying ‘I’ but use ‘we”. But these days, everyone is an expert.”
Sadly, instead of paying heed to this guru of commentary, many questioned him about going public with his opinions.
“As a fellow broadcaster, he should not have taken his fellow broadcasters to task,” said a TV commentator.
Still, it is one thing to have the gift of the gap and another to be professional.
At the rate our commentators question the coaches these days, maybe they should be allowed to handle the football teams for a day and watch them convert their comments into action.
But in all fairness, we do have commentators and pundits who know their stuff and are a delight to listen to. However, they are a rare breed. These days, anyone and everyone can become a commentator or pundit overnight.
Maybe, it is time television and radio stations became stringent about quality and trained their personnel in broadcasting and sports journalism before letting them go on air. Or they could hire those who have had formal training or education in broadcasting.
In the print media, a sports journalist has to earn his stripes before he gets his own column – sometimes after 15 to 20 years. These days, even those with a few years’ experience can become a columnist.
Coming back to the present, sport journalists do not ask questions at press conferences, waiting instead for press releases to base their stories on. Indeed, sports journalism has been made easy these days. 
In the old days, the first thing we were told by our editors was that we had to be neutral and objective in our coverage and writing. Now, we have sports journalists cheering and running around with the Malaysian flag in the press box, which was once even reported on the Manchester United website – after such an incident happened when MU played Malaysia here.
If only the editors of old could see what is happening these days. They would probably choke. But at the end of the day, the excuse would be that the times have changed.
Still, nothing beats true journalism – honest, professional and sporting to the core.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
Twitter: @tmariadass​​

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony,

Please be mindful....we have world class commentators and pundits especially in Astro Arena......the likes of Omputih wannabe Zainal, Richard Silly,Half baked Hafizam, Falsafah Hasnizam and many other clowns covering soccer.

And in Hockey we have the huffing and puffing overly excited Vick the Hick.

Whenever I feel in need of humour....I switch on the telly to watch these clowns....and they never fail to make me laugh.

Some of the clowns do not even know the difference between a square pass and cut back in soccer.Same goes for a skewed pass and miscued kick.

Have you, in all your years of journalism, ever heard of a "South- South Derby" ? A commentator clown described the game between JDT vs Lions as such.

And you can observe their racist and divisive comments of people or countries that they don't like.

And Richard Silly usually bares his stupidity in programs like Bola @Mamak by ridiculing the dialect of a Malaysian minority group in multi racial Malaysia.
Ini rumah kita, Ini bolasepak kita, tetapi pengulas pengulas ini bukan orang kita !

Peminat Sukan JB