Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, a journalist who met Carlos Monzón at the beginning of his boxing career in the early 1960s and followed him through his glory days until he ended up in jail, described Monzón at the end of our third day of recording:
“Monzón was more of an animal than a person. He was an animal in life, he was an animal on the ring, he was an animal on how he treated people, he was an animal in jail, he was an animal on how he lived, and an animal on how he survived.”
In early 2019 it was announced that a TV show about how former boxing world champion Carlos Monzón had murdered his wife, Alicia Muñiz, would premiere later that year. When early footage of the show reached our newsroom, Cherquis Bialo told us that many of the scenes didn’t show the truth, a truth that only he knew because he was one of the few friends that the boxer had. So we suggested the idea of creating a documentary on Carlos Monzón.
Tackling a number of challenges
That’s when we ran into our first challenge: telling the story of a sports idol, friends with French actor Alain Delon, who dated famed TV hostess Susana Giménez and was a movie star, but was also a convicted murderer. We agreed that the only way to present his story accurately was if every angle was in constant tension with the other.
We decided the best option was to shoot for three days, in three different weeks, all based on stories and anecdotes that Cherquis Bialo would tell us. Based on that information, we would create a script for the documentary. Shooting each week gave us the opportunity to put together the puzzle that was Monzón’s life, so journalist Rodrigo Tamagni, who guided Cherquis Bialo through our interviews, knew where to go next.
Melanie Floor, the documentary’s director, kept a log with all the stories he told and gave shape to the framework of every episode, always looking to cover the three angles of Monzón’s persona: the champion, the sports idol, the murderer.
Another challenge we faced was which format we would work on, because our final product had to be compatible with all platforms and aspect ratios (16/9 on YouTube and 9/16 on IGTV), and whether we would create a one-hour documentary or split it into six 10-minute episodes.
When it came to formatting, all recordings were made with the action taking place in the center of the frame so we could cut out the sides for IGTV and leave the full frame on the HD full version. When it came to archival footage, we changed the formatting in each version to make sure we offered viewers the best visual experience.
Regarding the episodes, we decided to make each one of them focus on a different aspect of his life: his childhood, Monzón the animal, the killer, the ring, and the end.
Powerful story yields powerful results
Creating a series allowed us to create a different relationship with our audience, which every Friday anxiously awaited a new episode. This helped us follow the conversation users would have on social media about each episode. Thanks to great work by our social media department, #Monzón was a trending topic for that entire month in Argentina, as users would share and comment on each anecdote or story that Ernesto Cherquis Bialo shared in front of the cameras.
At Infobae, we believe the media has a great responsibility when reporting on gender violence stories. Since our documentary was about a femicide, all episodes were evaluated by our gender issues editor, especially episodes that focused on episodes of violence toward Susana Giménez or the murder of Alicia Muñiz.
Our last challenge was how to promote the documentary on social media. In Argentina, gender issues are extremely important and at no point was the show to be promoted without explicitly communicating that he killed his wife.
The show received praise from the audience and reached close to a million views (when combining the viewership of all episodes on all platforms). Additionally, Infobae generated more than 20 articles on our Web site that analysed and expanded the stories told by Cherquis Bialo.