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Phone intervews

Friday, April 27, 2007 by Dave Winer.

A picture named elephant.gifNow, after all the michegas about how I like to do interviews in blog posts, largely because they create a record that can be easily verified after a story runs, let me say that I often consider doing phone and face to face interviews, and sometimes I do them. Permalink to this paragraph

A couple of examples. Permalink to this paragraph

1. Recently we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Scripting News. There wasn't a lot of press in the U.S., or in the blogosphere, but interestingly, the story got a fair amount of play in newspapers in Europe, Asia and Latin America.  Permalink to this paragraph

The Guardian (U.K.) wanted to do a piece about it, on a very short deadline, and wanted a phone interview.  Permalink to this paragraph

Now, I have a long-standing gripe with the Guardian, in 2004 they ran a highly conflicted, perfectly awful article about RSS, as the "wars" were settling down, a piece written by one of the partisans, that reflected his point of view, and was presented as news, not comment. Others were not given an opportunity to respond. This is the kind of conflicted reporting that I just can't support, and won't. When I asked the Guardian to look into it, politely but openly, they attacked my qualifications and character, and that was it.  Permalink to this paragraph

A picture named tariqAziz.jpgSo when the reporter asked for the interview, in 2007, we had a long email exchange about the basis for trust -- why should I work with the Guardian when they hadn't responded adequately to a legitimate inquiry. After much consideration, I didn't do the interview, and didn't link to the piece because like many press reports, they called me a nasty personal name. I hate that part of what they do. They have no insight into who I am personally, and I felt given the dispute that this was their way of getting even. It looks bad, and in reporting, how it looks matters. Permalink to this paragraph

Net-net, what might have been fun, even interesting, was miserable. That's the Guardian. Permalink to this paragraph

2. On the other side, I did a classic phone interview with a SF Chronicle reporter a week or so ago, shortly after the Virginia Tech massacre, to talk about the releasing of the videos from NBC. I wanted to discuss this with a news reporter, who I felt might have an opinion about it, who would likely want to view the videos himself, rather than have them filtered for him by a competitor. I wasn't disappointed.  Permalink to this paragraph

I chose to do that interview because there was something in it for me. And while I was extensively quoted in his article, all the quotes came from my blog, because (I hope) they most clearly represented my point of view, much better than my conversational quotes would have. Permalink to this paragraph

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