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Use the phone for God's sake!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Elliotte Friedman, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    More of a rant than anything else, but I am getting freaking tired of interview subjects preferring to respond by text message/blackberry rather than a phone conversation. During the whole Sean Avery fiasco, I was attempting to contact one of the key players and left several messages. No return calls. I try a text message, and suddenly come the responses.

    But for the protection of both the interviewer and the interviewee, text messages are a far inferior form of communication.

    Emails are also aggravating, because many of them have that "this email is for the private use of the recipient only" disclaimer at the bottom. Yet, some sources want you to use them as quotes and some don't. There is absolutely no consistency. One guy got upset at me for using one, others don't care.

    I know why it happens. People prefer to avoid getting on the phone with you, and text messages/PINs are taking over the earth. But, if I was being interviewed, I'd prefer talking. I have no choice but chase via these methods now, but, man, I hate relying on written replies.
  2. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    If someone e-mails you and that's the best you can do for a response, it's fair game, disclaimer be damned.

    I've not had to deal with text messages during interviews but my sense is to clean up the textese if necessary and use 'em too if nothing better is available. You work with what you have, for better or for worse.
  3. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    Unfortunately it's not up to us. Athletes like to text. And a lot of them won't answer the phone when something is going on.
  4. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Not to mention, it's not as conversational in the copy. There's a definite "e-mail-ese" nature to the responses. Replies are very stilted. I much prefer conversation.
    Haven't had to text message an interview yet. God, I hope it doesn't come to that.
  5. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Reporter: "wat r ur planz 4 nxt yr?"

    Athlete: "goin 2 skool"

    Reporter: "where u goin?"

    Athlete: "uwo wit ma boiiz"

    Reporter: "wat will u study?"

    Athlete: "communications"

    Reporter: "ya?"

    Athlete: "ya it b kool"

    Reporter: "ok thx 4 ur time"

    Athlete: "np l8r"

  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    nice... were you the athlete or the reporter?
  7. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    ;D. I even understood that!
  8. Mediator

    Mediator Member

    I love that he spelled out communications.
  9. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I've done interviews via instant messenger.

    Sometimes, you communicate with your source the best way you can.
  10. pseudo

    pseudo Active Member

    Probably had to look it up.
  11. How can you know, by e-mail, that it's actually the athlete on the other end and not his handler/agent? At least on the phone you've got a fighting chance.
  12. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I'll never tell. ;D
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