Monday, May 21, 2007

the end of the interview?

That's the dramatic question posed in today's Washington Post by media critic Howie Kurtz, based on the rise of the email 'interview,' and the ever-rarer face-to-face interviews. While you could blame this on busy schedules, the global village and a 24/7 news window, Kurtz reports that it's sources taking the interview into their own hands that's the real cause 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.
Is it a power shift? Maybe. Truth be known, skilled interviewees always have been able to control their interview output. Email just makes that easier, but it comes at the expense of spontaneity and interesting turns of phrase, as Kurtz points out:
...let me say a word in defense of face-to-face discussions, or even telephone chats. When you see someone's expressions or listen to someone's voice, you get a sense of the person that words on a screen lack. A back-and-forth in real time often leads to illuminating moments. And, of course, typed answers can be rather bloodless -- and they make it impossible for me to write, he said with a smile:).

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