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Investigative journalism

Monday, March 02, 2009 by Dave Winer.

The last interview I did with a reporter from MSM was in 2006, pretty sure of that, just before Chris and Ponzi's wedding. It so ridiculous that it was almost a comedic (not the wedding, the interview).  Permalink to this paragraph

I only did the interview as a favor to Ponzi, otherwise I never would have talked with the reporter. She was doing a story on weird uses of electronic gadgets, or at least that's what I was told. I was to talk with her about the gadgetry that Chris and Ponzi were going to use at their wedding. Permalink to this paragraph

I spoke with the reporter for about 45 minutes, most of which she spent grilling me about my conflicts of interest. That what was so funny. I was an unemployed wandering programmer-pundit. I didn't have a job or a company. I owned a bit of Apple stock (which I told her about) and some government bonds. Otherwise I had absolutely no business interests whatsoever. But somehow she thought that, by repeating questions, she'd get me to reveal some secret scandal that would uncover a nest of whatever relating to Ponzi's wedding? You're kidding, I kept saying. This is the biggest joke I've ever seen (and at one point I asked her if this was a prank call, something Ponzi dreamed up to "get" me, in which case I thought she was doing a great job).  Permalink to this paragraph

I kept saying that I don't care if you quote me. I don't have a product to promote. I'm only doing this interview because my friends are getting married and they asked me to do it as a favor, and how could you say no when they're getting married? Oy.  Permalink to this paragraph

I wasn't quoted in the piece. Basically the story was that Chris and Ponzi exchanged vows in text messages in front of family and friends. That's basically all they said in the story. I don't know who else they talked to but no one was quoted in the story, so all the investigation apparently turned up nothing. Permalink to this paragraph

So what do I think of investigative journalism? Well, they had zero chance of uncovering a scandal. If I were doing something unethical, I wouldn't tell the reporter, no matter how many times she asked. And that was the last time I put up with this nonsense. What they do is a joke. Maybe they believe they get stories this way, but I don't. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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