Jason Calacanis is pissed because a Wired writer took a pass after Calacanis asked if he be could be interviewed via e-mail. Jason, you’re absolutely right – and my perspective comes from more than 15 years as a daily newspaper reporter. One thing reporters take for granted is people are obligated to talk to them just because you’re deemed to be an interesting/necessary source. Truth be told, if you don’t want to talk to a reporter, you can ignore them/not return their phone calls/e-mails. Of course, many people find it difficult, if not impossible to resist the siren’s call of the media for some strange reason that I’ve never been able to figure out. Maybe it’s because talking to a reporter is seen as a ego-stroking exercise.
In terms of Calacanis; if it wants to conduct an interview by e-mail, that’s his prerogative, and if the reporter doesn’t like it, tough. In many ways, e-mail is a better tool than a phone call because you can take your time to answer questions and you have a record of what exactly you said. If your quotes are misinterpreted or misconstrued, you have a way to go right back at the journalist. It is interesting that more people such as Calacanis and Mark Cuban prefer to do e-mail interviews. As far as I can tell, Cuban rarely does voice interviews, although he’s extremely accessible if you ping him via e-mail.
Update: Dan Gillmor, another ex-journalist, makes some excellent points, including the fact journalists often make mistakes – albeit little ones. Meanwhile, Mathew Ingram – a working journalist until we lure him to the dark, entrepreneurial side – says he loves e-mail interviews.
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