Friday, December 12, 2008

15 minutes of fame

Some time ago a rather hilarious event was witnessed on the BBC Worldservice radio.
They have a program called “Over to you”.
Listeners are asked their opinions about important geopolitical matters.
They can send e-mails and SMS messages while an expert in the studio responds to all the comments.
Some of the people who contributed get a phone call from the BBC saying they will be live in the program to say what they have written.
Some time before the actual broadcasting they know they will get a second phone call and they realize they will speak live to millions of listeners all around the world.

There was this guy in Accra, Ghana, who knew he was going to be on the radio and obviously got very excited about it.
He forgot that everybody’s opportunity to get world fame lasts not longer than a few minutes maximum.
One must be quick and smart to make a strong statement within the small time window attention is offered.

When the journalist got him on the line and asked his opinion, he replied in a slow and statesman-like way:
“Thank you for this interview”.
And continued to start to make his lengthy declaration.
Ready for this important and long interview only he was anticipating.
So, within minutes, he was cut off, thanked for his (useless) participation and the next person got on the line.
Obviously the Ghanese was totally disillusioned because for some time he had been thinking and probably telling his mother and friends, that he was going to have an interview on worldwide radio.

Artist Andy Warhol made in 1968 a statement that became well known:
"In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."
But the Ghanese person didn’t even get two minutes.
Because he screwed it up.

Yesterday was an interview with national Dutch radio about the new photo project “How the world loves”.
It is a daily program of 3 hours and they have several subjects.
Hence, for the journalist it is like a sausage factory.
One guest and subject after the other and attention and interest goes to a limited depth.

How to get the best from the occasion?
One strategy is to keep strongly in mind that a radio interview is an opportunity to talk to the audience.
Not to talk to the journalist as such and respond to his or her questions but to mainly take the questions as an opportunity to inform the audience what is important for them to know.

This strategy works only though if the journalist personally gets interested by what he hears.
It is only effective if the subject quality changes from a sausage to something that surprises and intrigues.

Both projects “The most beautiful people in the world” and “How the world loves” have always made journalists get personally involved.
Main reason is that the projects are about them as well.
The experience of beauty and the way to love concerns journalists personally also.

Often, through the interview they become so concerned that in fact they turn into participants of the projects.
In their way, they contribute we all get together around an important issue.

Hopefully this posting reaches Accra, Ghana.


To hear the interview, that is in the Dutch language, click on:


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