Long time ago I was a young reporter and we were in the middle of a local electoral campaign for mayors. Every day political parties bombarded us with announcements and inviting us to attend uneventful electoral events to report about them even if only a few followers, sometimes less than ten, were listening to the speakers. So boring.
That year, my boss decided as a sociological experiment not to go except for one given average day picked by him. That day he sent all of us to all the events taking place in the region and asked us to come back with the data of who delivered the speeches, where, how many attendants were present, and what happened.
I was sent to a meeting of the Socialist Party (then in power) in a neighborhood of my city held by the outgoing mayor, disgraced in the party but still very popular among the voters. He was the main speaker among others, used by the party to attract followers. I went with my photographer to the local where the meeting was going to take place and counted 18 attendants. It was the most populated event in all the region that day.
Wen I sat down among the public waiting, I noticed that a TV crew arrived, so I decided to leave my seat because I didn’t want to appear in the images. The best way to avoid that is to stay behind the cameras. So I went where my photographer and the TV cameramen from the Public TV station were. We were talking about how boring it was the meeting and how difficult would be for me to write something about it.
The campaign’s chief approached us holding some papers. I was sure he was going to give us the speech. But instead he came to me (I was the one with the notepad) and told me:
– Don’t report a word about what the mayor is saying. We don’t want him to head the news.
– I’m sorry?
– I said not a word about the mayor. Everything about the others
– Excuse me, but I’ll report about what I decide.
I was angry and offended. He looked at me puzzled
– Aren’t you from the public TV?
– I’m not
I began to enjoy the situation. I smiled confident, looking at his eyes, waiting. He was lost, avoiding my look, devastated, and then, when I though he was going to back off, he spoke:
– Oh!… I’m sorry… We use to tell them what to say… Well, they ask us what to report.. Well…, there is an agreement… They do the same with all the parties…
When I arrived to the newsroom I had the best incident of the day. I had evidence on the socialist party agreeing with the public TV about what to report. It was the polemic of the campaign from that day on.
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