Jeff Jarvis had a thoughtful piece about the impact of blogging on journalistic interviewing. Excerpt:
Scott Rosenberg, founder of Salon.com, responded on his blog: “But mostly, it’s because reporters hope to use the conversational environment as a space in which to prod, wheedle, cajole and possibly trip up their interviewee. Any reporter who doesn’t admit this is lying, either to his listener or to himself.” Rosenberg extends his conspiracy theory to argue that phoners “have the additional advantage of (usually) leaving no record, giving journalism’s more malicious practitioners a chance to distort without exposure, and its lazier representatives an opportunity to goof without fear.”
Well, I say there’s a better way. The asynchronous email interview allows the subject to actually think through an answer – and, again, if information is the goal, what’s the harm in that? If the reporter has time to edit the words to be more accurate and articulate, why shouldn’t the source? Putting the exchange in writing also puts it on the record so no one can claim misquotation. Of course, quotes may still be taken out of context, but the solution to that is the link: why shouldn’t any quote in a story link to its place in the fuller interview? There’s the context.
I spent an hour yesterday doing an email interview and found it much more satisfactory than the conventional audio or TV version.