Email me your questions and I’ll get back to you.
It’s the journalistic equivalent of “your source is just not that into you.”
It’s no secret that politicians, big shot business execs, or even the PTO presidents running a car wash fundraiser don’t want to sound silly in print. We all know that the current trend of quote approval is a slippery slope to selling out. But is conducting an email interview the same thing?
Poynter reported this week that many universities are banning email interviews for campus newspapers. The rationale is that email interviews allow for implicit quote approval – the interviewee has full control of their answer, polishing their responses – and that the email format inhibits the search for truth, best found in face-to-face interviews, or at least over the phone.
It’s nice that universities are banning email interviews; it puts the value back into the act of journalism, something that’s nice to instill in journalism students. It also seems like they were finally fed up with their own universities’ public relations staff — something I can relate to. Have you ever tried to get an interview with a university president about their endowment? They’re worse than actual politicians.
I, however, am torn, because I have used email interviews to compose a story and I admit: I sort of liked it.