Press conferences get underway shortly01 May 2011 at 12:04 CEST
Who are Sonia and Branislav?
Sonia is half Malaysian and half German and is actually a freelancer for German broadcaster NDR. She did her apprenticeship with them, and before that she worked as a producer in Washington in the USA. She is mainly a television journalist these days.
Branislav's family hails from Serbia. He did his first jobs as a moderator, but got his big break after the Serbian victory in the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. A casting show was held afterwards, with the prize being a job as the green room reporter when Belgrade hosted the contest a year later in 2008. Branislav won the show, and went on to be the green room host. When Lena won, Branislav approached a contact offering his services for this year's event in Düsseldorf.
Preparation for the big event
Sonia admits to having done a lot of recent research, and adds "I have to say that I have been preparing a lot for the last four or five weeks, intensively reading Eurovision.tv as well as the Eurovision.de site, watching the videos, reading up about the participants, and comparing notes with Branislav also. When you start reading about the artists, you begin to naturally formulate questions in your won mind"
Branislav has also been working hard saying "We have been preparing as though we were in a press conference situation where journalists didn't ask anything at all, that we will know enough about the participants to keep things moving along. We want to make sure that they feel well and that it is a good atmosphere."
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We want a mix of facts and fun!
Sonia and Branislav will alternate the moderation of press conferences one by one, with Sonia taking the first of the day with Poland. When the big five countries press conferences take place, they will jointly host them due to the anticipated larger number of attendees. All press conferences will be conducted in English, although there will be the opportunity for press to pose questions in their own language, as long as they can be translated.
When talking about the anticipated hosting style of the press conferences, Branislav says "This is a huge event so we want to mix the facts, for people to get to know the artists, but for it to be fun as well, and for the artists to feel good afterwards. I'd like to make it a little bit of a show, all built around them as they are the central focal point after all."
Sonia adds that she would like to make the artists feel welcome, and to make them talk and feel comfortable. Both moderators are very satisfied with what they have seen of their working conditions, feeling that the set up is very professional and their opinions of their volunteer colleagues are also very high, being impressed with their attitude and the fact that they have taken two weeks out from their day jobs to help with the organisation.
Branislav - Belgrade experience will help me
Considering what he could draw from his Eurovision Song Contest experience in Belgrade, whilst Green room host, to help him with the moderation task ahead, Branislav says "I can draw quite a lot, when the artists came after their performances in to the green room in 2008, they were all very nervous, like little kids. I had to calm them down, you have to make an atmosphere to make them feel good. It's my aspiration to have the artists saying that the press conferences, stage and everything in Germany was so good, to leave a lasting impression."