Tag Archives: interviews

Ben’s free flights and journalism ethics

Bomb--Arvin61r58

Bomb clip art by Arvin61r58

Interviews are minefields for sources. And the resulting articles? Almost too fickle and frightening to contemplate. At least that’s the view taken by the subject of a Rolling Stone feature who I’ve been reading about lately.

Ben Schlappig’s reaction to major media attention shows the one-two punch of trepidation and surprise that only a savvy source can experience. He describes being cautious taking part in the reporting process for Ben Wofford’s piece, and expecting to emerge either more flattered than he expected or woefully disappointed at the portrayal. The maelstrom of coverage—most of it piggybacking on the RS coverage (see here, here, here, and here)—also got me thinking about journalism ethics.

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I can haz perspective?

Photo: Paul Reynolds

Photo: Paul Reynolds

As a writer and college instructor, I can easily sink into my own world. Yet this past week, I’ve had the chance to see that world from the other side.

The writing sphere usually involves lightly stalking my subjects, asking questions, rejoicing when they respond, then writing and revising. Rinse and repeat.

For teaching, the routine is mostly to come up with activities and explorations that hopefully lead to learning and/or thinking. Rinse. Repeat. The rest of the time I make up assignments and criteria, hope students follow said criteria, and then check assignments and find that they sometimes do and sometimes don’t follow it. The success of that last item determines whether my hair remains intact or not.

So my trip to the point-of-view equivalent of Australia started last week when I discovered a student has quoted me in an article about farmers markets. I loved the experience of sitting in the interviewee chair, and then seeing what the interviewer chose to use.  It’s like one of those lolcats  suddenly faced with her own reflection.

Zowee! I can haz perspective? Continue reading

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