Sunday, May 27, 2007

Traditional Media (or public radio) weighs in on email interviews a month later

NPR's On The Media weighed in this week on the whole "I only do interviews over email" think that spread like wildfire through the blogosphere last month. (Can anything spread through the blogosphere like wildfire? Isn't a decentralized network kind of resistant to that?)

Anyway, a quick refresher. Weblogs Inc founder Jason Calacanis and several other high profile online personalities wrote that they would turn down telephone interviews with journalists because they were tired of being misquoted, and generally were too busy to respond to the number of interview requests they receive on a regular basis.

Calacanis eventually reached a compromise with Wired News reporter Fred Vogelstein and Calacanis recorded the complete interview which he then released as a podcast. The interesting thing is this pushed the complete interview into the public long before Vogelstein's story ran in the print edition of Wired.

On The Media's Brook Gladstone interviewed Calacanis and included an edited version of the interview in this week's show. Calacanis says he's a fan of the program and that he trusts their editing process, so he was glad to do the interview. But as a matter of transparency, he will be posting the complete interview on his blog. This time, the actual story ran before the unedited copy was made available.

Gladstone and Calacanis have an interesting discussion about process. Essentially, Gladstone suggests that the role of journalists is to predigest news for readers/viewers/listeners, making it easier to consume "the news" rather than large chunks of raw data. And Calacanis agrees, saying he wouldn't want to listen to a 17 hour special on the topic.

But nobody's suggesting that radio producers, newspaper reporters, or anyone else stop editing their interviews. But there's no reason not to post entire interviews online. While this might be a bit of a hassle for print reporters who would have to transcribe the entire interview (and may not be making audio recordings), radio producers usually record the entire interview anyway.

It takes just a few minutes to save long interviews as mp3 files that can be posted online. As I've demonstrated with this blog, you don't even need vast amounts of server space. You can upload audio to Odeo or eSnips or other services that let you stream audio for free.

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