(UPDATE Apr. 27: I cross-posted this article to Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits weblog. The comment thread there is very interesting, don’t miss it!)
More and more often, journalists interview people who have their own weblogs. When a reporter interviews someone, the assumption is that, as long as the journalist has properly identified herself, anything the source says is considered on the record unless there is a specific, overt agreement otherwise.
But does that tacit agreement work in reverse?…
That is, as a blogger being interviewed by a reporter, could I also consider the content of the conversation (including the reporter’s questions and description of the story plan) on record for the purposes my weblog?
Hmmmmm…. That seems fair and just to me, personally, and in keeping with my belief that journalists are not a special, privileged class. However, the quandary of whether interviews are mutually on record would probably be handled best by Poynter’s ethicists. (Hint hint!)
MY PLAN FOR NOW
The next time I’m called for a media interview, I’ll establish at the outset that I consider both sides of the conversation to be mutually on record. If the reporter has issues with that, we’ll negotiate as warranted before proceeding with the interview.
Similarly, since I’m also a journalist, when I inteview sources I will make a point of asking if they have their own site or weblog, and whether they’re intending to write about the interview. I will consider the whole conversation mutually on record unless otherwise specified.
We’ll see how that goes.