Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Take note (or should i say notes)

Have I missed something or are we really, seriously,
debating the merits of the email interview?.

The spat between Wired and the internet entrepreneur Jason Calcanis seems to have sparked some interesting exchanges in which the likes of Dan Gilmour appear to suggest they are a valid tool for newsgathering.

Surely not.

Any media students reading this take note. Email interviews reduce our craft to that of the market researcher. That's it: form-filling.

Why? Because there's no exchange, no prompting, no interaction between those with something to say and those who will persuade them to say it.

I'm not talking about the quicky Q and A; Metro's 60-second interview, official statements and advertorials. In fact, a written exchange with a reclusive celeb could even be more revealing - I'm talking about the worrying trend to assume that everything can be done from behind a keyboard.

It can't.

Merely publishing email responses would be like asking interviewees to send in footage of themselves for a video slot or a tape for a podcast. Good reporting is all about context. All this seems a step too close to allowing people to check over your notes.

As for the argument that it cuts down on the chance of getting anything wrong. There's a simple answer to that: Try harder at getting it right.

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