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Use Tape Recorder...Yes or No

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BNWriter, Aug 3, 2011.


I use a tape recorder or other recording device for interviews

  1. Yes, sometimes

    16 vote(s)
  2. Yes, all the time

    49 vote(s)
  3. Yes, tape recorder some; another mode others

    2 vote(s)
  4. No

    4 vote(s)
  5. Another device used (Specify)

    9 vote(s)
  1. BNWriter

    BNWriter Active Member

    I admit to being horribly old fashioned. I have been doing this freelance job for almost 30 years and didn't start using a tape recorder until about 9 years in.

    Now, with new forms of recording being used, I am still using a cassette recorder. I don't trust myself with anything else. I discovered I am not alone. I met another sportswriter who felt the same way. That got me to thinking: How many others of us out there are not trusting of new technology when it comes to getting every quote. Just curious. Thanks for voting and discussing.
  2. Clerk Typist

    Clerk Typist Guest

    Cassette recorder. You can save a tape more readily than save digital by transferring to a laptop or whatever, and if the hard drive goes, you still have the tape. There's nothing old-fashioned about preserving a quote if necessary.
  3. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    The problem with cassette and older digital technology is if it's windy and you're outside, there's a good chance you're losing everything.
    I don't know why the "older" generation doesn't trust technology. It's no different than buying a DVD player instead of using a VCR, or using a microwave instead of heating up food in the stove.
    Honestly, i don't trust your notes. I'm willing to bet most of the time a lengthy quote isn't verbatim. You're missing a minor word that doesn't affect the quote, but that one word makes it not accurate. I've ready plenty of stories by guys I saw using a notepad and the quotes never matched. I'm not talking small-time guys either; guys from the Globe, ProJo and others. It's not a big chunk of a sentence, just a "that' or an 'an' someplace, but it still makes the quote inaccurate.
    Go digital. Get a recorder that has a USB link. Download all your recordings to your computer and back them up on an external hard drive. It's smaller and easier to do than keeping piles and piles of notebooks.
  4. nck228

    nck228 Member

    I've had an RCA digital recorder for about four years now, and I have no complaints about it. Simple to use, all my recordings come out clear, and the pop-out USB lets me upload my interviews onto my computer (which I then backup onto my external hard drive for safekeeping... when my computer kicked the bucket two years ago, I was able to re-upload them from there and didn't miss a beat.)
  5. Sue

    Sue New Member

    Buy an Ipod Touch instead of your average recorder. Itunes is an easy way to name and store old interviews. The recording quality is above average and it's a music player. The newest version will also record video.
  6. RobRVR

    RobRVR New Member

    I don't use a tape recorder anymore.

    I use my iPhone now to tape interviews. One of the best apps for taping (other than the built-in recorder) I've found is ClearRecord - saves automatically to iTunes, filters out background noise and very easy to use.
  7. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Rhody, as an editor, I'm a LOT more concerned by a writer being so married to verbatim quotes that he uses quotes which are so stunted you can't understand them.

    The speaking language doesn't translate to paper perfectly.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I covered a coach early in my career where if you didn't get every quote EXACT, he'd call you on it.

    I'm talking down to the pronouns and conjunctions. He talked fast too, so it was tough... It got to the point that we would quote him off the quote sheet after late games and sometimes the PR staff would get a word or two wrong. When that happened, we got a wake-up call.

    Ever since I covered that guy, I recorded EVERYTHING.
  9. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    If you're not married to verbatim quotes, then you're not quoting a subject - you're paraphrasing them.
    That's all and fine, but you can't quote someone if it's not verbatim; it's not honest.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    We did this once when I was covering the coach who was obsessed with every word that left his mouth.

    Four of us transcribed a 30-40 minute press conference. A member of the PR staff also transcribed it. We then printed them out, swapped them and we watched a video of the press conference. All of the journalists had between 15-20 words wrong and the PR guy had about 40 wrong. Almost all of the errors were things like pronouns or conjunctions or changing a word.

    It was enough to make your head explode.
  11. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    I wish I could think of some examples right now, but I just believe sometimes a writer can lose the sense of what the subject is saying if he's obsessed with chronicling the imperfections and uneven delivery of his speech.
  12. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I understand what you're saying and I agree with you; however, you can't quote something like that. If the person you're speaking with can't grasp the english language, your choice it to quote them or not. I ran quotes this year during Little League where kids were saying things like "Funner." I could have changed it, but that's not what the kid said.
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