Friday, March 19, 2010

Do we manipulate students like pols manipulating the press?

Roger Cohen had a very good piece today. It is meant as advice to the Obama administration to be more spontaneous and less controlling. But it triggered other thoughts for me.

When I worked in the Central IT organization for Campus, I would get interviewed by a reporter from the Student Newspaper. These kids were likely journalism students, but they were rather inexperienced and as a result would often misquote or misinterpret what I had said. (And I knew I wasn't alone in that category.) They weren't trying to get me with this. They simply didn't have enough training to consistently be able to render the sense of our interview.

So I got into the habit of asking whether I could see their piece and on more than one occasion, I believe, the interview itself happened via email, so they could lift my passages directly. This was more pleasing for "getting the story right" but now I wonder whether it was not good at all for them to learn to be effective reporters.


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