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Journalists and The Internet Interview

I'm not exactly a newcomer to writing. I still remember the days when I did all of my interviews either in person or via telephone. Taped, of course. Then, along came the internet. It's very handy for asking a quick question when someone lives in another time zone, or another country. Even a quck question for someone who lives in the same part of the country. But I have seen an interesting phenomenon the past couple of years. The online-interview.

I'm not talking about the Q & A where you submit it and it appears online. I mean the journalist who e-mails you a string of questions -- anywhere from 10 to 12 -- for a magazine article they're writing. As the person being interviewed, you answer the questions, essentially writing their article for them, and they get paid. What's wrong with this picture?

Oh, they may interview one or two more people this way and combine the answers, providing segues from one to the next but still, who is doing the real work here? It's time-consuming, far more so than a phone interview.

Will you be quoted more accurately? I think that depends upon the interviewer. I have always been careful about transcription. Of course it takes longer to transcribe a tape but I'm being paid to do a job, a complete job. Or that was my "take" on it.

What am I getting in return? Free publicity that may or may not help sell one of my books. But a paycheck is what pays my bills, not the hope that someone, somewhere, will read the article and decide that it might, just might, be worthwhile to buy a book that I've written.

Why do I keep doing it? Honestly, I don't have a really good answer for that. Maybe it is the hope of a book sale. Maybe I'm flattered to think that someone has asked. Mainly, I think it's because I really want to get good information out there.

More to the point: when did this "interview technique" begin and why has it persisted? Is anyone else bothered by it? Does anyone even care?

I don't have answers, just questions.

2 Comment count
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     Call me easy, but

     Call me easy, but I'm still so excited by having anyone interested enough in something I've written that they will interview me, regardless of the format, that I'll answer any question -- well, almost any question -- that is put to me.  I'll answer phone calls, post cards, e-mails, smoke signals, notes in bottles that wash up on my shore.

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Too funny!

I know what you mean, Bob, and I agree about the attention. I just don't think we should have to do the interviewer's entire job for them. <G>