Interviewing by instant message

June 18, 2007

Leann Frola, a Naughton Fellow at Poynter, posted an interview she did with a MediaBistro blogger who’s been hired by the New York Times. The content of the interview is interesting; I always love to hear about bloggers who’ve been snapped up to teach mainstream media what’s what (hint, hint!), even if more questions are raised than answered in this specific interview. What’s unusual about this interview, though, is that Frola conducted it by instant message and simply threw the transcript, slang, interruptions, and all, onto the site.

lfrola (1:07:33 PM):what are some of the things you’d like to do?

lfrola (1:07:39 PM):maybe that would work better?

lfrola (1:10:01 PM):brian?

thebump (1:11:40 PM):Sorry — girlfriend on phone —

lfrola (1:11:58 PM):oh np!

thebump (1:11:56 PM):Hmm, so what would I like to do

lfrola (1:12:17 PM):yes

lfrola (1:12:24 PM):i’m curious

I dont know how I feel about this. I love the transparency of putting an AIM interview up as an AIM interview, but it seems so…unfinished. Unpolished. Is this what all our news will look like in 20 years? A journalist’s job is to filter, to weed. At one level this means deciding what to cover, at another level it means taking out insignificant information, even down to the word. (That is, after all, what ellipses are for.) AIM chats by nature are unfiltered and unfettered. The freedom is great, and I’m sure–if used properly–this could be a great way to report. But it’s also possible that a lot more work needs to be done in this area, and reporters and editors need to have a lot more chats about how to make chat work.

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