News : The triathlete who chases politicians
Fernando Valls, 36, is a political journalist who has finished three Ironamns. “Before, exclusives were achieved by having drinks until the wee hours; now they can be achieved by running through El Retiro with the deputies “
One day I kept this name after reading a report on his politics on lainformacion.com in which something different was seen: hours, time, journalism.
I looked for his name on Twitter and in his user account I saw that Fernando Valls has finished three Ironmans.
Today I am talking to him.
– I need sports because I it hardens the character.
There are days when he even does double sessions.
-I get up early to run 8 or 10 km and then, if I have time, I go swimming and, of course, the long runs, be it running or cycling on Sundays. That is my main medicine.
Fernando Valls is a 36-year-old guy from Vallecas who today lives 800 meters from El Retiro and who in his youth it was a promise of swimming.
– At 20 or 22 I realized that I had aged, that I could no longer reach the rhythms that I had reached in swimming.
“Sometimes in sports, youth is lost in a second,” I tell him.
– Now what I need is for the sport to tire me out and that’s why I swim, run and bike -answers Fernando Valls, an uncomfortable journalist, as they say about good journalists.
A guy used to arguing with himself every day to reach the goal.
In your case, reaching the goal may consist of chasing politicians out of Congress to seek privacy because in privacy is the difference that makes a difference.
– Sometimes, I have to run after them, yes of course.
– And that tires.
– That is why I believe so much in generational change in this profession. At a certain age you can no longer do this.
– But you are 36 years old.
– I’m 36 years old, yes.
And he is a journalist.
And recently, on his last day on vacation on Teide, Suddenly, they called him from his newspaper at twelve in the morning:
– Fernando, Pablo Iglesias has left the Government.
And there his vacation ended.
And he got down to work on the phone.
And, in the end, he managed to write a story that the others did not write in which he explained “with whom Pablo Iglesias had matured the idea of leaving the Government.”
And wrote it on the mobile because he hadn’t taken the laptop.
– But this is also journalism – he tells me.
Because today we are talking about journalism. Maybe more than sports (excuse me).
“But I like that word: journalism,” I tell him.
– Me too. But that word is has degraded a lot lately. Journalism has suffered a lot. Before, a journalist was respected. But now the first word you face is precariousness.
– Sometimes the quality does not have the result it deserves. There are elaborate news that do not have the performance in visits that is expected. But in the long run that pays off. I am from a humble family in Vallecas and my parents convinced me to do things well, in the end, it always has a prize.
– Journalism is like the Ironman. It is actually a long distance race.
– Yes, exactly, because it requires a time of adaptation until you find your brand, until the sources are made.
– But do the sources still exist?
– Yeah right.
– And aren’t there people who make them up?
-That’s the problem. That is why I think it is so important that there are serious journalists in a time like this when any image on social networks seems news. And no: not everything is news.
– What is the difference between the finisher and the journalist?
– Perhaps there are not so many, because, in the end, everything is constancy. I have always thought that, if I have been able to do an Ironman, who is not going to be able to do it? Just need adapt to swimming in open water, that yes that may be a little more difficult, but the rest …
– It takes a lot of patience.
– Well, my day to day is patience. Every day I have to get news and there are days when there is no way and they are days that have been repeated a lot lately, because people are increasingly distrustful. But you have to look for the news. It is the only way to find them.
In a world like that of journalism, in which many hours are spent sitting, in which less and less people go out on the street and in which more and more ‘edit’, ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ are carried on, I insist in which Fernando Valls is a very interesting element.
“You have to go outside,” he replies. The news is still on the street.
– Or on the phone.
– My phone has no hours. Luckily my partner is also a journalist and understands it better than anyone because as I always say, the phone is for the journalist like a swimmer’s goggles, the shoes for the athlete or the bicycle for the cyclist.
– And then it goes to you to run to disconnect.
– It’s just another part of my life, yes.
– And it helps him.
– It even helps me to work. Look, before the exclusives were achieved by having drinks until the wee hours of the morning. Now I have gotten them running because there is a group of deputies runners those who like to run and with whom I sometimes meet first thing in the morning in El Retiro. There is a large group who come from the provinces, are here alone and use their free time to go running.
– The magic of running.
– In 2018, before the censure motion came out, I was about to make a report of Pedro Sánchez training for the Casa de Campo. But the president came out and it couldn’t be.
-It was a shot to the post then.
– It was a post shot, yeah. But it is that this profession, as I practice it, is like that, it represents everything except meeting a schedule. Max with how badly politicians treat us and plus those who rule. These are people who choose who they want to talk to and who generally treat journalists badly to us.
– And that can be held for a lifetime?
– I think not and that after a while one will have to go through the analysis … I know there are very tough professions, but searching, finding and contrasting is a very tough profession.
– We fight in all parts of life against the man with the mallet. Not only in the marathon or the Ironman.
– Daily. There is always pressure to publish or not publish what they want. But one has to be strong under pressure. The key is honesty. I know of no better way.
– And they didn’t try to buy you?
– No, not to me. That is on another level. But pressures daily.
While receiving them, Fernando Valls is already thinking about the day he can do his next Ironamn.
Frankurt or Roth.
And who knows if this time it will drop from 11 hours.