Hi all, I’m currently cheesed because this week has been hell when it comes to idiots agreeing to be a part of stories (many of which they asked us to write) only to assume I am their personal advertiser and agent and subsequently must change the story to fit their personal agenda or image.
Ahaha … no.
As reporters, we record quotes, facts, and present our stories as such. We are not there to specifically serve any one person. Once you agree to an interview, anything you say or do, unless otherwise specified, will be recorded and presented 100 per cent as it actually happened.
Let’s begin with some of the annoying shit I’ve been told this week.
“I didn’t realize you were going to record what I said word per word! Can you take that part out?”
I’m not sure what newspaper you’re used to reading, but when we record quotes (either by writing them down, typing them up, or actually using a recorder) we take down EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID to avoid BEING SUED FOR LIBEL and to ENSURE WE ARE HONESTLY REPORTING THE FACTS, i.e. exactly what you said.
Also, no, we are not obligated to take something out of a story unless it has the potential to bring you or your family harm beyond a reasonable doubt or if the information recorded is absolutely incorrect - and usually, in that case, we don’t remove it, we update it.
Occasionally we will bend and remove something if someone asks say, for the sake of their family or if the person said something containing sensitive information and didn’t think we’d use it, but we aren’t obligated to - we just do it because we aren’t heartless. However, this doesn’t mean we’ll just take everything down because you decide you don’t like how it makes you look.
If you agree to an interview, think before you speak, and if you say something you don’t want used, say the magical words: “off the record.”
Interviewee: “I don’t like how that quote sounds, can you go in and add ‘insert shit I didn’t actually say that makes me sound more idealistic and favourable?’”
Me: “Did you actually say that? Because I didn’t record it that way.”
Interviewee: “Well, no, but that’s what I was TRYING to say! :D”
Me: “No, I can’t do that.”
Interviewee: “What? Why?!
Me: “Because that’s not what you said and that’s COMPLETELY DISHONEST."
Seriously, the nerve of some people. We aren’t your agents or PR representatives, we are not in the business of advertising on your behalf. If we write about a project, organization or event, we do so because the community may have interest in it, not to advertise for you or your company specifically. If you want to make sure you get good quotes in a story, then think of what you want to say and SAY IT. Don’t try to add stuff in afterwards to make you sound better.
We’re trying to limit the stigma that all news is inherently fake and we can’t do that if we alter the things people say to better fit their personal narrative, that’s a total conflict of interest, it’s completely biased, and it’s a blatant LIE.
“A piece of advice? ASK before you just report on the details of a story I told you in an interview I agreed to!”
Like I mentioned before, if you don’t specify information as being off the record, we have legal right to use it, especially if you’re the one who requested the interview. If we asked every single time someone told us something in an interview, 1) that would be extremely tedious and 2) that only better gives them the ability to manipulate the narrative for personal gain.
We are not responsible for your personal agenda, we are there to get a candid story that is factual and unbiased. If there’s information you don’t want us to know, don’t tell us or, again, the magical words: OFF THE RECORD.
“I don’t agree with a story you wrote because the subject you interviewed has a different political view than mine, so I’m now assuming their opinions are your opinions, so fuck you and take the story down because it’s biased.”
"Sir/ma’am, this is a story about politics, subsequently political subjects are going to be discussed. As you can see if you refer back to the original story, I actually interviewed people from both sides of the political spectrum and both had their opportunity to speak, it isn’t my fault that the person who spoke on behalf of your personal political view didn’t represent their beliefs the way you personally wanted to in comparison to the opposition. Therefore, I am not going to take the story down because it is completely factual and unbiased."
"FUCK U LIBTARD SCUMDICK."
Literally, some people’s children…
*Someone emails an opinion piece to us*
Excuz me reporter people, i wrote dis peace because I think Dug Ford is dum. He attac all of us and taxes suk. I wood like 4 u to post it on ur cite n in ur paper.
Dug ford suk, his bro did drugz and taxes r fukin gay.
Joe Blow frum Idaho
…. Don’t send us shit like this.
Okay, I’m done venting now folks. Have a good day.