25 Nov
2014

The Polish Peter Jennings

Placed on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 by Publistat

Maciej Orlos

Warsaw

The Polish people watch a lot of television (4 hours a day on average). Especially entertainment is doing well (and it also does on the radio). The printed media is mostly read at the end of the week: weekend editions are read more than weekday editions. Despite the decrease in circulation, papers such as Gazeta Wyborcza (the biggest Polish quality daily) still play a large role in forming public opinion.

You could say, he is the Peter Jennings of Poland. The shows of Maciej Orlos attract about eight million people. And without interruption for the past 23 years. 'That makes me European record holder', he says dryly and factual – exactly what can be expected of a news anchor. This makes him an excellent local celebrity for Youropeans. Also because of his European linkage: for 8 years, he was the one for Poland who passed on the points during the Eurovision Song Contest. 'May I have your votes, Warsaw?' He then gave them, but again very businesslike. 'Some people try to seize the opportunity. But it is not about you'.

At the editorial office of TeleExpress – which is the name of his show - he sees everything. 'Newspapers, internet, Reuters, TV. Everything is on, I have more than ten screens right in front of me. Radio in the car. It used to be different. I remember quite well how it came in by fax. And the telex. I can still remember that a young girl at the office typed six copies of the news with carbon paper.' He tries to catch the attention of the waitress - there are moments that nobody sees him. 'News is everywhere, there is no place to hide from it. Sometimes it drives me crazy', says Maciej with a dispiritedness which seems to be typical Polish. 'And I also give the news. Sometimes that is fun, when it is good news, or funny, which is also accepted at TV Express: it can be witty. But more and more I am having trouble with reporting tragedies. It does not reach into me that much anymore: I am just a little blunted'. Another sigh.

That afternoon, at 5 o'clock, I saw him again on the news. I could not understand a word of it, but he looked rather serious, and now and then rather witty.

Mark SchalekampWriter and journalist Mark Schalekamp travels the EU for his project Youropeans. In every city he interviews a doctor, barber, an immigrant, a prostitute, local celebrity, police officer, businessman and an artist. And he shares his view on the media landscape for Publistat.