‘I saw it in your face,’ Sonja Barend told Jeroen Wollaars about the pleasure he had during his interview with CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra, which was awarded the Sonja Barend Award. At the award ceremony in Khalid and Sophie Barend seemed unable to get enough of Wollaars. The news hourThe presenter especially praised the months of preparation of the list leaders’ interviews with the editors. A follow-up question was devised for every possible statement by Hoekstra. “A lot has been put into my head.”
The interview evening was not over with the announcement of the prize for the best TV interview (yours truly was one of the jury members). BNNVARA honored the man who never won the Sonja Barend Award: Paul Witteman. Witteman 75 – Colleagues about his work offered a compact overview of the television career of the birthday VARA celebrity.
Endearing were the 1980s images of the nervous young man barely daring to look into the camera – you can imagine how in this century he would have been passed through the meat grinder of television critics within weeks of his debut. The shy Witteman was convinced by VARA chairman Marcel van Dam to persevere. He saw him as a crucial pawn in the renewal of the socialist broadcaster. This important influence of Marcel van Dam was clearly explained by Marcel van Dam.
Other interviewees also wandered through the periphery of Wittemanland. For example, Twan Huys told about a group photo at Achter het Nieuws in which intern Sven Kockelmann took a step forward just as often until he was right in front. Kockelmann dismissed this accusation of Hekking shuffling, but said he was still a little ashamed of the intended photo. Sonja Barend offered an office-political insight by confessing that she had once crossed a VARA corridor to help the editors of The round of Witteman because she felt that program was fishing in her pond. She later apologized.
Sven Kockelmann spoke inspired about the interviewer’s working method. “A political interviewer must know in advance exactly what is going on. Paul knew everything.” Then it was only a question of how to get the hidden things out of the guest. Witteman thereby opted, Kockelmann taught, for the three-stage rocket: two simple questions to which the interviewee could easily answer, after which there was no turning back with the third (the real question). Mike Bodde van Stage Witteman said that Witteman had to get used to the fact that you can’t interview a musician as hard as a politician.
Charles Groenhuijsen compared (sports hater) Witteman to the boxer Mohammed Ali who danced around his opponent like a butterfly and suddenly stings like a bee. He also mentioned the legendary TV inspector Columbo who asked suspects the main question when the conversation already seemed over.
With that short Witteman course in mind, I looked back at it award winning conversation between Wollaars and Hoekstra. The winner of the Sonja Barend Award is more of an all-knowing Wittemanner than an atmosphere-seeking Barendist. He was with the news hour-election interviews especially the all-knowing questioner. On a few occasions you certainly got the impression that he was more aware of what Hoekstra was going to answer than the interviewee himself.
In addition, Wollaars shares in what earlier in the evening with regard to Peacock and Witteman was called “the covenant of irony.” A highlight was the moment when, after Hoekstra’s cautious escape attempt, he asked: “Have I received an answer to my question?” If there had been a Paul Witteman Award, Wollaars could have won it too.