Ted Barton: The journalist with the words made of gold
Interview with great person, true figure skating fan and amazing commentator Ted Barton.
Interview was made and kindly provided by Sarah Barreiros
If you annually follow the junior grand prix season, you might notice every year the voice of the same man, kind, respectful and positive who always see the brightside in each performance no matter the issue. In fact, we going to meet today the New-Zealand born, Canadian raised Ted Barton, executive director of the British Columbia / Yukon section of skate Canada, and the ISU broadcaster of all the JGP series and the JGP final. He going to tell us all about his vision and the evolution of figure skating for the near future.
Mr. Barton, What do you like the most about your work and could you describe to us your typical journalistic day during a competition?
– I like the vision and the mission we have to raise the skating community, the skaters and the coaches with the ISU and the broadcast team. We are looking for transparence and honesty. On a typical day, I make sure I have all the information of the skaters and coaches with me, the country the skater represents etc.… I also watch the practice in order to see the reality of what’s happen during a competition, the emotions, happiness or sadness, how the skater can move forward.
How could you describe the evolution of the popularity of figure skating since your success to bring the live ISU watch in 2014?
– We can see that the evolution is for the exposure. Country like Brazil for example don’t have ice skating. The broadcast is accessible, positive, there is no negativity, no drama. I make sure to never give my personal opinion, no backlashing. People love more and more watching figure skating particularly on our broadcast because it is positive. That is why I am not offensive and it is important to stay supportive. During the years, our Channel has a significant grow and there is a total between 10 and 15 million views. It is easy to access, professional, we have 4 cameras and it is nice to ear.
You are well known by your incredible capacity to have in every situation, constructive comments and to see the positive side, how do you succeed to have a step back and such a balance in each performance without engage your personal feeling?
– I have been a skater myself. So, I understand what goes in the mind of young skater. They give the best with what they have. They all don’t have the same training conditions, the same facilities or time on the ice. I just want to be honest and careful of the words I choose and to be compassionate. I remember when I was a skater, some broadcasters were mean, rude and offensive on TV. What is the point? This hurt and I know it is not constructive.
What could you say about the comportment a young skater on ice nowadays particularly after performances? Do you think the skater should maintain a marketing image?
– It is not about marketing. It is about being respectful for the audience that come to watch the skater, the judges, the ISU. You can be who you want outside the ice, outside the competition but not in front of everybody. If an ice dance team or a pair team is not pleased with their performance, one of the skaters shouldn’t leave the ice without the other or behave with angriness against the partner. They are a team in front of the world so it is all about respect.
What do you think of the technical developments of the junior, particularly of the young girl doing more often triple Axel and Quadruple? Can we actually see those skaters having a long-term career?
– I believe that the technic is so good that it is not an abuse for the body, on the contrary of most of the people are thinking. I did watch the practice and the competition so I know the reality of it. The falls (if there is) are not extreme, or damaging or scary. I do believe in long career nowadays more than before. I admit it, I have some concerns about those young skaters and I watch carefully. But they are efficient with their bodies because the mechanic is not a problem.
We can see today that social media was a big step forward to develop the popularity of figure skating and to promote the ISU competitions around the world, what does the sport miss to be even more popular?
– I think we are missing exposure for sure. How can you fall in love with something you can’t see? In my country, in Canada, figure skating is famous and followed by the people because of the publicity and everything that promote the sport. With the ISU channel we provide a good reporting with for example an access on amazon. In Egypt and Brazil, they can now watch figure skating in live, and that never happen before. We have a big audience in those countries, they love it!
Do you have any new idea or plan for the ISU YouTube Chanel in short and long term?
– There is a discussion with the ISU with how we can expand the TV rights. We will see more things online in the next couple years but the biggest problem to develop all of that, it is the money. We are a crew of 6 guys and we do our best but it is a day by day process. I am pleased about the help of the ISU, it is a great partnership. We have the same vision.
What do you think of the seniors this season?
– I have a big faith concerning the junior that now integrate the senior level. For example, the Russian girls like Aliona Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova, it is going to be fun to watch, incredible. It is going to be a lot of suspense!
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