Will this debate continue via e-mail or on the phone?

An interesting update on the months-old (though, more accurately, years-old) debate over interview conduits: e-mail vs. phone.

Steven Levy, of Newsweek, tackled the...

An interesting update on the months-old (though, more accurately, years-old) debate over interview conduits: e-mail vs. phone.

Steven Levy, of Newsweek, tackled the issue - using the same springboard [Wired v. Jason Calacanis] as did my column (sub req'd).

Levy interviewed media pundit Jeff Jarvis, via phone, for the story, but now Jarvis wishes he had done it, via e-mail, because:
He uses a quote from me but I wish I had the fuller quote to link to. If I had done the interview in email, I’d have that context to give you now. But it’s gone in telephone ether, proving the point of those of us who prefer email interviews.

It's hard to figure out who is being more self-important: Levy [for this: "We in the journalism tribe operate under the belief that when we ask people to talk to us we are not acting out of self-interest but a sense of duty to inform the population." ed note: yes, I consider it my responsibility to inform our readers, but I blanche at "sense of duty." Maybe 30 years ago, that comment would have been fair; but everyone who has a serious blog habit these days feels the exact same sense of duty] or Jarvis [for this: "If I’d done my interview with Steven via email, I’d link to it now and let you decide. But I can’t. My fault. I did it by phone and robbed you of that. Sorry." ed note: robbed is a little much; if it's so important, reformulate what you said for your readers, which I think you did anyway. So thou doth protest too much].

It should be clear that there are benefits to both interview styles for both parties

Publishers: E-mail (more content to attract readers to the Web site) and Phone (A more robust reading (and rendering of) the interview subject's thoughts, opinions, and attitude)).

Interviewees: E-mail (the ability to formulate one's opinions and facts better) and Phone (an article that offers a more lifelike reflections of yourself than the cobbling together of e-mail quotes)

And, of course, a chart of the cons could just as easily be created. I think the best chance for all of us to agree is that subjects shouldn't always rely on the phone interview for fear of misquoting and publications should not so adamantly demanding phone interviews when e-mail might make more sense. What do you think?

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