Category Archives: Wired magazine

When bloggers act like "bloggers"

I posted recently that O’Reilly said straight out to his audience to never believe anything a blogger says. I hooted at that. For those who don’t take blogging and social media seriously, it is easy to write them off and p-offed kids who are angry at the world, calling everyone names, repeating or creating misinformation and in general not acting in a responsible manner. That is true of some, no doubt, but is very untrue of most others in my experience.

That’s why I was truly disheartened to see a blogger, David Axe of Wired, essentially fitting into the first category. His name calling, careless disregard for the facts, and uncritical repetition of the errors of the mainstream media in the situation of the FEMA press conference are illustrations of why bloggers lose respect. It is true that because this situation now involves me I have the advantage of information about it that may not be readily available. Pat Philbin, the subject of the name calling, has been very open in all opportunities to express his views on the topic. For a lengthy interview, go to Kami Huyse’ Communication Overtones blog.

It is interesting that those engaged in the online discussion about FEMA and Philbin, including interesting questions posed by Shel Israel, are clearly struggling with the issue of what they can and ought to believe about the reports of the incident written by three reporters. I suspect the struggle–particularly when confronted with credible counter information–demonstrates that we tend to believe what we read and hear much more when it conforms to pre-conceived notion. When we disagree with the message, it is much easier to write it off as the typical media nonsense. The resistance to doing that in this case makes me believe that FEMA’s reputation hole–shared by those who work for the agency–may be deeper than we thought, and maybe too deep for anyone to dig out of.

Email interviews vs. phone interviews (and podcasting too)

Jason Calacanis was asked to do an interview by Wired reporter Fred Volgelstein. He said he would do it by email. The reporter refused to do an email interview. What follows is a fascinating interchange and discussion about the nature of reporting and the issues of how to make sure the journalist gets the story and the quotations right.

Here is Calacanis’ blog following the refusal.

And here is a podcast of a phone call with Calacanis and Volgelstein discussing the uproar this caused.

For the record, I advise clients wherever possible to submit answers to questions by email–as a way of helping insure accuracy. But I would not tell them to refuse to do a phone interview. I find Mr. Volgelstein’s defense of his position–hearing their voice helps make sure he gets their meaning right–to be weak. I tend to believe reporters do not like to get answers by email because of the lack of spontaneity and the change in style that frequently results–plus the added constraint the accuracy question.

The idea of recording the phone interview (now becoming much easier with speaker phones and built in recording on computers) is a useful idea to again help insure accuracy.

But, what is most interesting is coming to the obvious conclusion that Mr Volgelstein needs some media training. 😉