Wired Magazine Kerfuffle: Interviewing protocols now being rewritten because Journalism failed to establish ethical guidelines 4/27/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Interview, Journalism, Middlemen, News, Wired.
This week, the big buzz in the tech community was the refusal of “A-list” bloggers to submit to phone interviews with Wired Magazine reporters. They insisted on being interviewed by e-mail or on blogs instead. The reason for the insurrection was that they were tired of being misquoted, taken out of context, or being caught in “gotchas,” to which just about anyone who has ever been interviewed by a reporter can surely relate. What’s changed? Because of the Internet, journalists are no longer the indispensable middlemen connecting these news sources to the public they need to reach. Interviewees now have more leverage to set the rules. The field of journalism might have avoided this new battle if, years ago, they had established themselves as a true profession and developed standardized ethical standards and practices for interviews. In the process of developing these practices, interviewers and interviewees would have built a consensus around ground rules that seem to be fair. Each side would have adhered to them, trusting that the other side would as well. Only now, at this late date and with a crisis at-hand, some journalists are scrambling to write new rules for the future. But, it’s too late. In the emerging news environment, each interviewee will be free to negotiate his or her own rules of engagement. (Hat tip: David Strom)