[UPDATE: Dave Winer points out some bits of sloppiness in my reporting here.
I’ll update this post shortly. Revisions in italics.]
Jason wanted e-mail questions and Dave has his own policy, wherein you can send him your questions and he’ll answer them on his blog
if he wants to where everyone can see the complete answers for themselves.
As a reporter, as I’ve said before, this drives me batty. I don’t want static answers to static questions, I want to keep a back-and-forth going, preferably in person or on the phone, until I have your position clearly represented in a series of words my readers can understand.
The problem, of course, for folks like Dave and Jason, is that they’ve done enough print interviews to get frustrated at the fact that not everything they say, not every bit of context, not every piece of backstory makes it into the final published piece.
That’s my own interpretation of what it’s like to be misquoted, or partially quoted, or quoted out of context. It has certainly happened to me. If you want to know exactly what Dave’s concerns are, here’s a piece of a Scripting News post on the topic from August 2006:
“These days when I get an interview request from a professional reporter, I offer to answer the questions, best I can, on my blog, without saying who the reporter is and exactly what questions were asked. This way I create a public record, something that can be useful to anyone, and I avoid the problem of being quoted selectively and out of context. Having created a record that’s likely to be as widely read as the story, I make sure what I have to say has a chance of being heard.”
And in the case getting swatted around this week, of course they are right to worry about which of their quotes about a friend/colleague/rival will get used. Having no idea how the writer is going to frame the story, who knows whether they’ll come out looking like disciples or backstabbers.
Hence, the solution, and a good one at that: Podcast the interview.
The reporter gets his quotes; the blogger gets his public interview; the public gets an extra piece of the story: Everyone’s happy.
The question now, is how many of your sources would buy into this? If you have a curmudgeon of a mayor who insists you e-mail your questions, or a PIO that doesn’t do phone interviews anymore, would they be willing to talk on tape, given the promise that everything they say would be podcast for public consumption?
I’m betting the answers are mixed.