The depressing tale of Johann Hari

The key passage from the apology runs:

I did two wrong and stupid things. The first concerns some people I interviewed over the years. When I recorded and typed up any conversation, I found something odd: points that sounded perfectly clear when you heard them being spoken often don’t translate to the page. They can be quite confusing and unclear. When this happened, if the interviewee had made a similar point in their writing (or, much more rarely, when they were speaking to somebody else), I would use those words instead. At the time, I justified this to myself by saying I was giving the clearest possible representation of what the interviewee thought, in their most considered and clear words.
But I was wrong. An interview isn’t an X-ray of a person’s finest thoughts. It’s a report of an encounter. If you want to add material from elsewhere, there are conventions that let you do that. You write “she has said,” instead of “she says”. You write “as she told the New York Times” or “as she says in her book”, instead of just replacing the garbled chunk she said with the clear chunk she wrote or said elsewhere. If I had asked the many experienced colleagues I have here at The Independent – who have always been very generous with their time – they would have told me that, and they would have explained just how wrong I was. It was arrogant and stupid of me not to ask

Read it quickly, and it sounds terrifically contrite. Read it carefully, and Mr Hari is actually blaming his interviewees for their lack of verbal polish. It is a nifty defence: there he was, travelling the world to meet all these famous and brilliant people, conducting all these excellent interviews, only to find, on returning to his hotel room to transcribes his tapes, that time and again his subjects had garbled their lines.

Read the entire article at The Economist

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  1. medeaeva reblogged this from futurejournalismproject and added:
    Ez a Johann Hari tündöklése és bukása sztori simán filmre mehetne. Bár mondjuk Eötvös Pál is megúszta eléggé… Ez...
  2. futurejournalismproject posted this