From one press-conference of Ivanishvili to another
Collegiality is present in any field. With these phrase I think about my mother, who, when listening to facts of negligence by doctors, always justifies her colleagues and with such arguments that one cannot argue against.
When it is about collegiality of journalists I recall many things… I recall the footages that in case we are late to a briefing, or different meetings, we give to each other; I recall microphones which when there is a time trouble one of journalist holds; I recall warm hellos, honest chit-chat when waiting for news and thousands of other things.
I started going out for news-recording just recently. I am gradually realizing that my colleagues are not monsters. I became nervous because of them for the first time at last year’s press-conference of Bidzina Ivanishvili in November. It was the first time for me at such large-scale meeting and it was the first time I saw so many of my colleagues together. They did not “disappoint” me.
I remember how they were wresting microphone from each other’s hands, how they were tapping their feet, how they did not listen to respondent and what was most important how they were hiding microphones intended for asking questions. I also remember foreign journalists who were astonishingly watching such a weird “fight.”
The then press-conference received great feedback from the society; more due to behavior of journalists and questions asked and less for answers to questions (in that situation it was impossible to pay attention to the answers.)
I always thought that collegiality is mutual respect. I could not detect such feature in my colleagues. I just felt strange competition; competition that resulted from fear of producer, losing job, or yelling from top manager. Competition, which required asking of a question for any price; like it was the matter of life and death.
I attended almost the same scale press-conference for the second time today. It was again led by Bidzina Ivanishvili but already in the rank of Prime Minister. Up to 150 journalists participated in the press-conference and I realized that nothing has changed.
As we were told up to 40 questions should have been asked and sequence of media outlets has been planned ahead. In order for everyone to have time for a question representative of the Press-Service asked us to have only one question; of course everyone nodded to it.
The press-conference started although the promise was broken after third or fourth journalist; after one of them broke the promise another did the same and so on: some asked two questions, some asked three and many others were left without a microphone.
Serious disorder came after they announced the meeting was closing the end. Some journalists dedicatedly tried to get the microphone; when one media outlet was announced another would not let colleague to ask question and tried to it himself; one of them was even pleading – Mr. Bidzina, I have such a question that nobody has ever asked before… - (Unfortunately I could not hear the question in that fuss…)
If we go back to collegiality, I believe in such cases it is considering sequence and the set protocol. In such cases you have to respect your colleague and even more your own self. I think it is far more collegial than letting someone to copy your footage. As for the argument that being representative of several media outlets is a reason to ask several questions, with that logic I have the greatest priority – I represent 22 regional televisions (Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters – GARB) and have the fair right to ask 22 questions!
P.S. One more mystery – Press-conference ended and journalists ran to the exit – they wanted to record Ivanishvili! This was not the first case and it happens at almost all press-conferences. It is a strange logic: why would you record same person on the same topic from different angles? Why would you spend time, energy and technical resources? I cannot understand this phenomenon yet, although, as I said I’m new so maybe with time I’ll get to it.