Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Phoning it in

The Insta poses an interesting question.  In this age of information, is the fine journalistic art of editing an interview to the point where it’s unrecognizable to the person who was interviewed over?

I’ll reprint the same quote he did here.

      It is a transaction that clearly favors the person asking the questions. A print reporter writes down someone's answers, then picks and chooses how much, if any, to use, how to frame the quotes and where to put any contrary information. Television correspondents slice and dice taped interviews in similar fashion.

      But in the digital age, some executives and commentators are saying they will respond only by e-mail, which allows them to post the entire exchange if they feel they have been misrepresented, truncated or otherwise disrespected. And some go further, saying, You want to know what I think? Read my blog.

 It would certainly be the method I’d use if someone actually thought my life were interesting enough to warrant an interview.

I like to think about this in the greater context, though.  Where is the information age taking us in the form of all social interaction.  There is still a great deal of physical and personal interaction out there in the world, but technology is making it more and more possible to interact with others from a distance.  For instance, I can work from home quite as easily as I could from the office, and though that’s because my work involves computers, with the advances in shipping and mailing, more and more businesses are finding that distributing directly and operating from their distributor’s or employees homes reduces overhead and other costs associated with the old economy.

If I want to communicate with friends and family, there is the telephone and Email, and now chat rooms and instant messaging reveal a world of social interaction akin to hanging out at the local club without actually having to see (or smell) the people you’re talking to.

We’re still a long way from the world that Isaac Asimov created in The Naked Sun (people basically lived hermit like lives because technology eliminated all need for interaction).  But this stuff reminds me of the people living on that planet.  By the way, if you are into science fiction or mystery, the robot series that Asimov wrote is some of his finest work.  Check it out.

1 comment:

A Jacksonian said...

And his work at the end of his life to tie together the Robot Series, Empire novels and stories, and Foundation works is amazing. Perhaps the best explainer of science the world has seen, bar none, and all of his works on the sciences are worth reading, even the out of date ones. Lucid prose is very hard to come by in this day and age, especially with regard to science. Even when he gets it *wrong* it is still good reading... with his depth in multiple fields of fiction and non-fiction, he really earned his place as being one of the best writers in the 20th century. For all that other SF writers put out character driven stories, he put out society driven worlds and then gave us keen and compelling stories within that. He was not unique in that, by the late 1960's, but it is that outlook that he had from early on that allowed that final knitting together to happen.