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Journalists Having Transparency Imposed on Them

The CEO of a company called Overstock.com turns the tables on Business Week by arranging Web publication of an e-mail interview:

Since you did nothing to indicate the interview was off-the-record I am treating it as on-the-record (that is the journalistic convention, I believe), and so have reprinted your letter below. I trust also that you do not mind me responding in this public forum, as you also failed to stipulate otherwise (as some reporters have when they interview me by email).

This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. In We the Media I noted that the Pentagon has been posting transcripts of major interviews with the defense secretary (I cited this one in particular), and others have posted such exchanges as well.

But it’s a harbinger of a changed situation for journalists. They may think they’re working behind a curtain, able to make (what they choose of) what they’ve learned public when they wish. Increasingly, they’re not.

This strikes me as a new feature in the system, not a bug.

9 Comments on “Journalists Having Transparency Imposed on Them”

  1. #1 pjones
    on Jan 16th, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    My collegue Chris Roush on his Talking Biz News Blog takes this story up from the side of BusinessWeek.
    I disagree and point to Dan’s book in the comments.
    Also in the comments, sanitycheck.com folks reply.
    Then Chris publishes this update: BusinessWeek reporter calls and is mad; Overstock head responds on Internet again. The reporter hasn’t caught on yet.

  2. #2 The Real Paul Jones » Turning tables on Journalists
    on Jan 16th, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    [...] My collegue Chris Roush on his Talking Biz News Blog takes the story of a BusinessWeek reporter who has his email interview questions posted by the interviewee. I disagree with Chris and point to Dan Gillmor’s book in the comments. Dan touches on the story on his own blog for the Center for Citizen Media. Also in the comments on Chris’ blog, thesanitycheck.com folks post a comment and a traceback to the interviewee’s reply. Then Chris publishes this update: BusinessWeek reporter calls and is mad; Overstock head responds on Internet again. The reporter hasn’t caught on yet. Of course I posted a comment to Dan’s blog telling him and his readers about Chris’s posts. Got all that? [...]

  3. #3 » More on Overstock/BusinessWeek tussle
    on Jan 16th, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    [...] Blogger expert Dan Gillmor wrote about the issue on his blog at Center for Citizen Media today and stated: “This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. In We the Media I noted that the Pentagon has been posting transcripts of major interviews with the defense secretary (I cited this one in particular), and others have posted such exchanges as well. [...]

  4. #4 Chris Roush
    on Jan 16th, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    I’m not necessarily upset with what Byrne did to Mullaney, but I do think Mullaney, the journalist, overstepped his boundaries with his response, which was also posted online, if we are to trust the posting on The Sanity Check Web site.

    I have blogged about this here: http://weblogs.jomc.unc.edu/talkingbiznews/?p=272

  5. #5 Brendan Hodgson
    on Jan 18th, 2006 at 5:06 am

    Fighting fire with fire?… …

    So… is posting transcripts of interviews with journalists the latest trend in communications? Dan Gillmor……

  6. #6 Brendan Hodgson
    on Jan 18th, 2006 at 5:51 am

    Fighting Fire with Fire… Turning the tables on Media…

    So… has the posting of media interview transcripts by interviewees – even before the article is published……

  7. #7 medicalwriter
    on Jan 18th, 2006 at 7:14 am

    It is a violation of copyright to repost an email without the orginal author’s permission. If the Business Week journalist was smart, he’d sue the Overstock CEO.

    As for transcribing interviews, that requires taping of the interview. In the US at least, it is illegal to secretly tape someone for any purpose.

  8. #8 ProPr » Another CEO uses his blog to level the playing field with a reporter
    on Jan 18th, 2006 at 7:33 am

    [...] Mathew Ingram has written in today’s Globe and Mail about Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, using his blog for an online tussle with Business Week reporter, Tim Mullaney. Ingram concludes: “… the ability to post your comments on a story to your blog, as Mr. Cuban did, or to post the interview and your responses even before the article runs, as Mr. Byrne did, is a pretty powerful tool. And they are not unique: as journalist and blogger Dan Gillmor notes, the U.S. Defence Department has been posting full transcripts of its interviews with journalists for a while now. As Mr. Gillmor notes on his Citizens’ Media blog, journalists are effectively having “transparency imposed on them” by the Internet.” [...]

  9. #9 Krempasky.com » Blog Archive » A Web 2.0 CEO
    on Jan 18th, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    [...] But it’s a harbinger of a changed situation for journalists. [...]