Nikos Chatzinikolaou looks back on the great adventure of journalism, which started in his early childhood. He talks about the requirements, joys and challenges of daily TV reporting, the anchorman's stress before the signal, the role of viewership in shaping the newscast, the shifting credibility of news, the tough times and the people who give him peace. He recollects successes and mistakes and explains why television, which has been in his life for so many years, remains for him a parenthesis, which he will not miss in the future.
By Christina Katsantoni
As a child, Nikos Chatzinikolaou read every newspaper he could get his hands on. He remembers himself reading thoroughly his grandfather's newspapers, and then trying to rewrite the articles from scratch. When he went to High School, he took the next step, publishing his very first newspaper, which, with a simple and shrewd move, managed to sell out. Later, in high school he got his own column in a local newspaper and when he went to the University, he didn’t think twice before abandoning his studies for an unpaid vacancy as assistant editor at Mesimvrini newspaper. Apparently this was neither a hasty, nor a frivolous decision. Nikos Chatzinikolaou has known, from a very young age, which path he would follow in his life without further analysis. It was clear to him that journalism was innate and part of his life.
In Thessaloniki, a city full of vibrant life, games, friends, songs and love, there were many temptations and tempting prospects for Nikos from the very beginning of his life. As the son of Member of Parliament and Minister of the New Democracy party, Panagiotis Chatzinikolaou, he came to the conclusion early on that politics is a profession with excitements, but with even more sorrows. This was what actually shielded him and made him bulletproof against all the different options which, since his youth, persistently and repeatedly challenged him.
The prestige in the news
In the family, there was always the thought that he would be involved in politics, even more so given his involvement with the student body, later the student unionism at Panteion University, but also his active participation in ONNED. However, politics was never in the mind of Nikos Chatzinikolaou. It wasn’t in his mind back then, let alone even later, when as the journalist, who according to surveys represented concepts such as "prestige" and "reliability" in the news, was proposed as the first preference of the citizens for the Municipality of Athens (in a poll by the company Focus in May 2001), in a cross-party candidacy embraced by representatives of different parties.
Nikos Chatzinikolaou refused that honour and the invitations that followed. Not only because he believes that anyone who quits journalism for politics usually needs a life jacket but mainly because of his love for the media and journalism, which - as he says - keeps him alive to continue.
The first distinctions
Journalism for Nikos Chatzinikolaou is a great adventure, which began when, at the urging of a friend, he found himself in Mesimvrini, ready to learn the secrets of the job. His first success was the exclusive news report of the expulsion of Thanos Mikroutsikos from the Greek Communist Party. Very soon, Evangelos Averof's interview, in which he revealed his intention to leave the leadership of the ND party, brought him the Botsi journalism award at the age of 22. The roads were now open for a great career and radio was the next step.
A long parenthesis
His relationship with radio has remained romantic since it began in 1987 at Athens 984, where he wanted to do an interview show with a feature-portrait concept by the name of Enopios Enopio. His presence at the birth of private radio was followed by his presence at the birth of private television.
Nikos was found on the weekend newscast on the newly formed Mega Channel and soon got his own interview show. A few months later, he moved to the main newscast “temporarily,” in a replacement that lasted 15 years, marking his steady presence at the helm of the daily news at different private channels for another 17 years, until this day.
The success of his life
His wife, Kristi, and his four children are his companions and fellow travelers on his journey, providing him with support and peace.
As for the adventure in the wild world of media, it started so many years ago and it still continues; without fear and with great passion. Without finally knowing where it will take him, but fully aware that shortly before the completion of his 40-year journey in journalism, he remains faithful and incurably in love with the job, as well as, always in the foreground.