Here’s What No One Tells You About The Transfer Window
Journalist’s role in the digital age — Today’s news is NOT tomorrow’s fish and chips paper!
Ah, the transfer window. The time of year that all football fans have been waiting for. The make or break of their beloved team. Which players are going to leave? and which players are going to arrive? Fans must find out as soon as possible, and it is up to journalists to deliver.
The football window season is arguably more exciting than the football games themselves. There is so much going on, speculation is high, and the rumour-mill is spinning. Journalists have to get it right. And they are in an epic race to do so.
“Today’s news is not tomorrow’s fish and chips paper!”
With most news now available digitally, journalists have to be even more careful about what they publish. If they write up false information about a potential transfer, then they will be held accountable!
The January transfer window is quickly approaching and potential transfers are already being discussed. Let's break down the role of a journalist during this period.
What is the role of a journalist in the transfer window?
With the proliferation of social media and citizen journalism, fans are able to act as journalists making it especially hard for the professionals: rumours are increasingly accumulated by fans spreading any news they hear, and this interferes with journalists’ work.
Numerous players get linked to different teams and fake news is prominent. Therefore, it is important that journalists use their experience and knowledge to sort through the names that have been thrown out there, to determine what is serious and what is not.
In addition, everyone wants to be first to get the “big name”. Journalists have to try not to fire any big name that they hear about the hope that the deal goes through. They need to remain professional and only report on transfers when the agreement has been reached.
News is now published online and it will always be there to find at the click of a mouse. It won’t be tomorrow's fish and chips paper like newspapers used to be. Therefore stories have to be truthful, and of a high standard, so that they don’t tarnish the reputation of the journalist and the news company.
Who to trust?
The transfer window only lasts so long and the intensity is exhilarating for fans and journalists alike. Amongst the haste and excitement, journalists must make sure that they are spreading accurate news and not contributing towards the spread of rumours.
To ensure that they don’t spread fake news, journalists tend to focus on small areas within which they pursue stories. They stick with agents, players, or teams, that they know and trust, rather than branching out to unknown sources and risking the information not being truthful.
Who are their sources?
According to Fabrizo Romano, an influential sports journalist, their sources are agents, sporting directors and then players.
Fabrizo also points out that sources change at every transfer window. So like most markets today, it's fast-paced and always evolving.
All sources have their own motive; everyone is in it for their own game.
For example, an agent might want a player to renew their contract at their existing club. In order to make sure this happens, the agent might express a ‘fake’ interest in their player going to another team.
A journalist will then write up about the potential transfer, building tension around the proposed deal.
The threat of the player moving will, in turn, encourage the existing team to renew their contract with the player, and perhaps offer a better deal.
How do journalists find their sources?
Inside the transfer window with Fabrizio Romano
Listen to Fabrizio as he takes you through his version of the transfer window and how he finds his sources…
“I live with my phone, I always say it is like my friend”
As Fabrizo said in the video above, he spends most of his day on his phone making calls and sending messages.
Journalists can arrange meetings or phone calls, which is a lot easier if the journalist already has a relationship with that source, be it an agent or sporting director. By already having a relationship with agents, clubs, or players, it saves a lot of time and means that sources are a lot more reliable.
“Sometimes in 9 hours, 10 hours, you don’t find anything”
In addition, Fabrizo points out, often agents meet in restaurants and hotels. Therefore, journalists also spend a lot of their time sauntering around city centres and waiting outside of hotels and restaurants in an attempt to find the people they are looking for
Who do YOU trust?
I wanted to find out where people go to get the latest on transfer gossip. Do they rely on freelance journalists? Big news companies? Or Twitter ‘professionals’?
I spoke to my brother, Nicholas (23), who is a Tottenham Hotspur football fan, born and bred. He said that he uses the BBC “Transfer Gossip” and Sky Sports “Transfer Centre” to find out the latest on transfer news. He refuses to go on Twitter, but will sometimes use Instagram:
“I choose not to look on Twitter because I know that so many people, who don’t know anything, post a bunch of rubbish on there.”
He follows professional Instagram accounts specifically linked to Tottenham transfer gossip, and he is wise enough to avoid the streams of fake news on Twitter.
What to remember?
Not all sources of information can be trusted. There is a lot of pressure to be the first to get the big name, which makes it more common for rumours to start spreading.
So help journalists out and don’t be a part of the rumour-mill!
Digitally now, stories last forever.