Cape Town born, Ivor Price is a presenter and producer with popular Afrikaans radio station, RSG. Having worked in both the print and broadcasting environments, Ivor's professional highlights include international exposure as a London based foreign correspondent and publishing leading community newspaper titles.
Ivor made his debut as anchor for SABC2′s 7pm news bulletin last week, replacing the legendary Riaan Cruywagen who retired from this role in November 2012 after 37 years. What makes a good presenter and how does Ivor handle his new role? Charis Apelgren finds out.
Have people compared you to Riaan as yet?
All the time… I get it, though. The man’s a legend. Even my mom grew up watching Riaan on the Afrikaans news. TV is an incredibly personal medium. You’re allowed into people’s homes, their personal space. I don’t want to be the new Riaan Cruywagen, though. I want to be the new Ivor Price.
First show last week, what was going through your head when you said "This is the news at seven on SABC2, good evening I’m Ivor Price."
Honestly speaking, I did a bit of a happy dance moments before we went live. It’s a dream come true. I also knew that at least two million people were watching. I centred myself and gave it my best shot.
I read in your interview with the Daily Voice you said you want to interview guests during the bulletins. Anyone specific?
Well, you can’t really predict the news and future newsmakers. I do, however, have tremendous respect for Malala Yousafzai (16), an advocate for girls’ education and the target of a Taliban assassination attempt. It would be an honour.
For the average viewer, being an anchor looks easy. What does your day involve in preparation for the show?
I too once believed that it’s easy, but I can assure you that live TV is no joke. This is probably the biggest challenge of my career. You’re live for about half an hour, but it takes about eight hours to before the average bulletin goes live on air. I’m a journo first. Journalism is a 24/7 job.
What’s your story? What made you go in this direction?
My first newspaper article was published when I was but 14 years old. I’m 33 now, and on some days it feels as if I’ve been in this industry forever, although I’ll never stop learning. I spent most of my full-time career (nearly 13 years) as a newspaper journo and columnist, and moved over to the dark side of broadcasting almost four years ago.
How much of a say do you have in which stories go on the air?
That’s exactly the beauty of the Afrikaans TV news bulletin on SABC2… It’s dynamic and a major team effort involving highly experienced editors, journo’s, writers and video editors. We all have an equal say.
Do you feel that there is too much sensationalism in the media?
I do like a bit of skinder myself, but there are some dangers in sensationalising news. However, the media do not just shape what the public is interested in, but also are shaped by it. We cannot ignore the public’s demand that certain topics and viewpoints receive extensive coverage.
What differences, if any, do you notice between local and international news?
We don’t have a culture of 24 hour news, or even breaking news in South Africa. We’re relative newcomers to this game. Some of the international broadcasters (like the BBC or CNN) now offer a multi-platform, live coverage. They’re light years ahead.
What are the most important characteristics a successful television personality must possess?
Credibility, credibility, credibility. You’re watching the news because it is anchored in fairness. Viewers want news that is fair and balanced, but also trustworthy and accurate. As a news anchor I must establish trust to cultivate credibility.
Like Riaan and many other TV personalities, you are seen as a local celebrity. Have you had anyone stop you in a shop or on the road and ask for your autograph?
The last week or so on SABC2 has been really intense in terms of the public’s reaction. I haven’t been asked for an autograph as yet (that would be seriously awkward!), but I have been stopped at my local Spar by a really excited tannie, trying to hug me with a dozen eggs in her hands.
And now some seriously difficult questions, but we have to know...
What song best describes your work ethic?
Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” wouldn’t work, because my hours are crazy. David Byrne’s “Glass, Concrete and stone” could be my anthem, though. *singing loudly* “Now, I’m waking at the crack of dawn, to send a little money home, from here to the moon…”
Have you ever stolen a pen from work?
On that point, I have a confession. I am a serial pen thief. Not from the stores or anything, but if I use someone’s pen, I’m keeping it. I don’t think I’ve ever owned my own stationery.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
For the first time in my life I’m on a bit of a healthy trip. Usually I’d braai to entertain friends, but now I’d probably toss together a Greek salad.
Do you own a man purse and what is in it?
I wish I did. At the moment I’m carrying my wallet, phone, car and flat keys as well as a water bottle at the same time. It’s a bit of a mission. A man bag would be easier and apparently it’s considered really sexy these days.
When you are not in front of the camera, what is your ideal way to unwind?
A late-night movie or a glass of wine with some Joni in the background. You know, even Janet Jackson said, “Joni Mitchell never lies.”
Everyone's got a quote they live by. What's yours?
Easy. I live by Maya Angelou’s quote: “When you know better you do better.” I’ve made many mistakes in my life, but I’ve learnt to forgive myself and do better the next time around.