Ser Argentino. All about Argentina

Mario Markic: “The trip has more reserved adventures than the final destination”

Journalist with an extensive career, Mario Markic is passionate about a television classic that threads lives, and landscapes, from La Puna to Malvinas. A posta with the man “On the Road”.

 “ Journalists are storytellers,” says Mario Markic, journalist, teacher and architect of “En el camino”, one of the leading documentary cycles of national television.  “ In the program, interest is almost literary or sociological, rather than talking to a certain audience, as happens in a news broadcast.  This links with my vocation, in which I was always interested in a human side, in the background personal interest.   It was never my intention either to be famous for the profession,” says the communicator who won ten Martín Fierro awards, seven for the weekly shipment, including Gold en Cable, and was named Ciutano Ilustre de Buenos Aires.

 “ 'En el camino' is a classic of Argentine television not so much because of its popularity, but because of the prestige obtained ,” says who climbs us into his van with fabulous stories like that of Hotel Eden, in La Falda, or rooted with the Argentine being, in La Pampa by René Favaloro. “In these 26 years we received several important distinctions such as the Tato Awards, the most important prize of the House of Senators, a Konex diploma and Santa Clara of Assisi. And that's not so popular, makes me very happy, because I don't like popular programs simply because they are. They have to have more ambitions and seek some social impact.  My programs share stories, stories, images and landscapes that are not toxic and that help us to get to know each other better ,” says the santacruceño, which is one of the faces of the leading news signal, TN (Todo Noticias).  


Journalist: In the mid-nineties you had a solid experience in the graphic media, how did you come up with a documentary from the small screen that runs around the country?

Mario Markic:  Before the television debut, I had completely in my head what I wanted to tell because I had worked hard on graphics. I did this for the magazine Gente, Seven Days and La Semana in the 1980s, when what I basically did was take the map, and choose a distant point . Hunting stories — in fact his  TN  debut was with “Cazador de Historias” in 1993. There I weighed the effort involved in those trips, and I was sorry not to have a television camera. I could write the best chronicle, and we were taking spectacular photos, but the Argentine graphics industry doesn't have a good illustration paper. Then he watched how photographic quality was wasted, not because of a professional question, but because of how it got to the kiosk.

 I also imagined that it was attractive to tell the trip, and not just the place where we arrived. Many times the trip has more reserved adventures than the final destination.  So when I started I moved those experiences that I was loading to the screen. I just had to look for the format and I turned to a program that I liked very much as a boy, “Route 66” That American series had two characters who lived stories about town in town.  In my version, I just came with my car to invite people to join me. But with the same desire to tell a unique and unrepeatable story.  


Q: How do I choose destination?

MM: More than places sometimes I'm going to look for characters but things also come up in the same path. For example, I leave with the aim of visiting such a missionary ruin, or meeting the woman who inspired a carnivalito in the Puna, but in the middle I found more powerful stories, in the millions of kilometers made. However, I propose a place of entry with the channel because I work with a journalistic company, and I don't do tourism. The company is logically only interested in the camera, and the journalist, to return as soon as possible.


Q: In addition you in the company integrates other teams such as  Telenoche Investigga ...

MM: Since I started the program, I did journalism on other fronts, both in  TN  and  Channel 13.  No one has a crown. And they can assign you to other tasks even though you have a cycle that some consider classic. Let's not forget that we are working within a for-profit company.


Q: However, I think that “En el camino”, which has even had a DVD edition, fulfills a social or cultural mission, what do you think?

MM: In so many seasons there are many people who meet on the route and claim that they toured such a place because he saw such a story on the show. Or families who met using my guide directions. Or couples who went on a honeymoon because they found out from me about an unknown place.  Of the stories that tell the ones that interest me most are those where I see that I inspired them another kind of recreation, beyond the welcome journey of rest. Or that I discovered other niches of interest of tourism , dirt roads, additional roads, neighborhood roads, enchanted villages, magical towns, height, jungles, rivers.  I feel like I managed to connect a lot of Argentines to something they were obviously looking for. Luckily, that interest in learning grows more in travelers. I'm proud that the program is a  reference.   


Q: The two books of “Misteriosa Argentina” (Editorial El Ateneo), “Patagonia de cuño y letra” (Editorial Sudamericana) and “Cuadernos del Camino” (Editorial La Marea) also serve as cardinal points, although his literary and sociological vein appears clearer.

MM: It's just that in books I can use more literary codes than on television . For me writing is always the basis, even now that I am a radio teacher (University of Belgrano), my students have to write scripts, which is no longer done, but they seem fundamental to improving the quality of communication.   I have a habit of talking long, which on television I have to accommodate the times. I come from a long grade school. I remember when I was a pro-editor secretary for News magazine, and drafted the cover political notes, those were much longer notes than those that are usually printed today.


Q: And how did he adapt to the television requirements in that first program?

MM: Because this project was born to be brief. It was a segment inside the summer  telenoche  . A time where there was money in production, you lived the fantasy from 1 to 1, and you could work with peace of mind. They were notes that didn't exceed five, six minutes. So I started with a project that I had long planned but without the resources of 13 was impossible. Then I decided to visit Tierra del Fuego for a history of shipwrecks, in an inaccessible place, which you have to reach by ATV and camp at night. Then we took a long excursion through Cape Horn, which I think I can never repeat again, not even on my own. That was the famous series where Tierra del Fuego's last ona appeared, in that whole summer I worked in Patagonia. When I return to Buenos Aires the news signal was launched and the manager consulted if you could make a program with my stories. Of course, I replied, you can, but we have to keep traveling all over the country, and spend a lot more time on production.  So began “En el camino”, like a half-hour program of a channel that did not yet have the current vertigo. Today I could not be in the week because of the amount of news that is generated, even if we recognize that most are insubstantial. A news litter product of fierce competition between channels.  


 On the way of news with substance 

Q: Does this situation of reporting “insubstantial” news have an impact on journalism?

MM: Clearly this has an impact on journalistic work. There's no more than five news for me. Let's think that until well into the 1990s, a newspaper like Clarín had no more than five, or six titles in cover, politics, economics, international and something sport, maybe shows or culture. Now everything is over in the tabloid format, a thousand apparent news tight in a few centimeters. And on the channels, headlines are changing every hour.  That clearly affects journalistic work because you notice that the news of a clash, totally insubstantial, can generate an hour of fight between the two drivers. The same thing happens in all signs. It also has to do a little with our imprint, of living in permanent tension, because it would be something unimaginable in other countries.  


Q: Many “En el camino” made it possible to know an almost unknown Patagonia, even got to broadcast for the first time live from Antarctica, why not yet count  Rio Gallegos , your hometown?

MM: It's still the city I haven't yet been able to board. I don't know if it has to do with my family vibe, or with certain repressions you have. So many things would be mixed to tell, the good, the bad, the nostalgic and the melancholic. They are those situations that do not give me the necessary freedom although every while I come back with the desire. At one time I wanted to tell the city through my mom, but she passed away, and we're already big with my brothers. Another idea was something totally fantastic, far from the documentary record.  For my Rio Gallegos, it's a difficult program. To Rio Gallegos, although for everyone it is a dreadful place, I carry it in my heart.  I also sometimes think that an autobiographical program doesn't interest anyone


Q: Was the passion for cars born in childhood?

MM: He ripped off with the rides in my dad's van. My Viejo had a general branch store, one of the most important in the city, and worked with a 53 and another 60. I have memories of the first picture just, but from the other I have several, since I was gravel with my older brother in that Ford. As a child it was also very fana of the Carretera Tourism. There was no race I missed on the radio.  My training in the media, and in several respects more I would say because I was a very fanciful guy, was on the radio. Imagine that television arrived in Rio Gallegos only in 1969, that is when the man stepped on the moon.  


Q: What are the TV shows you remember besides Ruta 66?

MM: The first thing that comes to me are some football compiles, with dates that had passed weeks ago, and that were the test broadcasts. Like all football I followed it on the radio, which had that formidable speed of stories in the sixties, when I arrived in Buenos Aires the first thing I did was go to a match on the independiente court, club de míamores. And I got a lot of frustration. What a sadness. Because the footballers were going to five an hour, heh. For my imagination they were all gladiators, unparalleled sportsmen, and when I saw it live they were taking a free kick, or simulated violations. They weren't any gladiators.


Q: We know you like collecting cars, any of you prefer?

MM: There is one in particular. And he's got his story. I learned to drive in a Fiat 600 from my brothers, who lent it to me, or took them out without them knowing.  But my first car, and the one I love most, is a 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk V 8 coupe.   A journalist specializing in cars was recently surprised, because the factory closed in 1966, and asked when he had bought it. 1996. And when he had arrived in Buenos Aires. 1976. I didn't understand how 20 years passed without me buying a car. It wasn't a question of silver. I didn't understand that my dream was to have that car. It was the car of my dreams from Río Gallegos, the one I had seen go through the door of my house. Until as a big boy I catch the notice in the newspaper, and buy it right away, although it ended up costing almost like a Rolls-Royce, ha. But well, the tastes have to be given to them in life.


 “ I carry the Falkland Islands in my heart ”

Q: Mario, you have a particular relationship with the Falkland Islands, you were in the theater of war operations in 1982, and traveled twice, 2015 and 2019, how were those experiences?

MM:  The first time I was near the Falkland Islands, I covered the war from Rio Grande and Ushuaia in 1982, in one of the most sensitive places outside the archipelago. Because from there they took off the most fearful planes in the English fleet, the Super Étendard with the exocet missiles . Although only last year I was able to go to one of the bunkers where the planes were hiding. In 1982 I couldn't do much because the military didn't leave me even though I was with them for two months. They said they were protecting Argentina's secret weapon. But it was also the Navy area, who were the most authoritarian and repulsive of the military dictatorship. They didn't let anyone work. Anyway, I can say that I lived the Falkland War as few lived it outside the islands; we had five red alarms, a curfew and a militarized life.  A hard image that remained for me, from those days, is reminiscent of the suffering of the civilian population. Or five planes were coming out and two came back.  

Then I spent a week in Falkvinas to make a  TN story, and I came back when they recognized the soldiers in the graves. Fortunately after that international forensic work, only eight tombs remain to be recognized.


Q: What does Falkland represent for you?

 MM: The Falkland Islands are in my heart .  I have an intermediate vision where, while I recognize the fighters, I also condemn war . Clearly the military bastard a just cause, with the only idea of covering up an internal problem. Then the dictatorship came up with nothing worse than to enter into war with a world power-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in England had only 18% support and, after the war, climbed to the 1980s. The laurels of the old empire, and world colonialism, greened thanks to Argentina's recklessness. Let us think that at that time the British economy was falling apart, Thatcher privatized everything and had almost 50% of the workforce on the street, and was detaching almost all its colonial resources to make cash.  I would have had no problem delivering an archipelago thousands of miles from London when he had delivered India and Hong Kong.  Falkland,  possibly by the end of that decade, would have been from Argentina without a single shot.  


Q: I was talking about an intermediate position.

MM: I think the two visions that prevail are incorrect. Or you are an extreme malvinero, and you defend that as a gesture, without taking into account that that first was a totally dislocated and spurious invasion. We can't cover a tree, the forest. On the other hand, the people who fought on the islands are not to blame for the political horrors of the military . Beyond some of them think from extreme malvinism, one cannot fail to recognize them the surrender to the Fatherland, let alone the dead. I made a thousand notes to fighters who don't go on TV, and live far away in Corrientes and El Chaco, without brag. We should also recognize not only poor soldiers but officers who lost a war, and fought with courage and professionalism. One has an obligation to recognize them. But it also has an obligation to have an intermediate vision. And not fall into false nationalism .

I recognize that this intermediate version is the product of traveling around the country chatting with fighters of all ranks, having been twice on the islands, and also having many childhood friends who are children of Malvinas. There are still many direct relatives, stay managers, who sink their lineage in Falklands, and you can find in Santa Cruz. It is a very personal link with the Falklands, and that is usually not shared.

Q: We have experienced such an intense process of desmalvinization that it is difficult to talk about the subject in the spirit of listening.

MM:  Let us assume that demalvinization began in the dictatorship and continued in democracy - President Raúl - Alfonsín was one of the responsible. And you can understand it because you couldn't exalt one of the worst things the military did after the genocide . It's those toads that politics forces to swallow. I also believe that history is being reviewed and that  combatants  are beginning to be recognized without pro-or anti-Malvinas prejudices. And the objections of a large part of the population are lagging behind, and hiding, war as the living embodiment of dictatorship.  You can't be such a bad person, so lousy Argentinean, with some boys who went almost without instruction, they banked themselves dead in dirty hungry trenches, and on top, when they brought him in, they hid them like lepers. I always thought ex-combatants were more traumated by that cruel reception than by the war itself. Argentine democracy cannot be unfair to them.  


Rating: 5.00/5.