Friday, 15 July 2011

When I goofed up..

A couple of days ago, I got a call any journalist - budding or established - dreads. The Mr.Journo-your-story-is-factually-wrong call.

It was all a bit heady to be frank. I did the same old boring kind of a story that I've been doing for a while now. Only this time, I had a very very tight deadline. 2 days to fix up an appointment, research for the interview, conduct the interview, transcribe and then write the story. This is a process I do for every story, but my usual deadlines are more like 2-3 stories every 10 days, which is insanely relaxed. So when the moment I finished this particular story, I felt quite relieved to have managed to pull off the deadline.

The usual process then followed. Boss edits the story and makes a pdf out of it, sends it to me for final checking and I gave the go ahead. Issue came out and I mailed a copy of it to the interviewees. A full 10 days later, the interviewee makes the call. Long story short, he yelled at me for having misquoted him and claiming that his company manufactured the product that his competitors do. I told him I'll check into it while telling myself that it was too big a gaffe to be true.

I was wrong. When I went heard the recording again, it became quite obvious. He had said "We manufacture all lamps for the xyz car..". I assumed that when he said "all", he meant every single lamp that the car might have, while he had implied that they manufacture only all the lamps to the front of the car, head lamps, indicators and fog lamps.While one could argue that he must have been clearer, the onus really lies on the journo to quell any ambiguity in the interviewee's statement.

I told my boss that it was my mistake. He didn't seem to care. His only concern was that a retraction is now to be published and that is never a good thing.

TL;DR - I made a mistake, interviewee pointed it out to me and I apologise.


Rakesh said...

Worsthu median you are... go hang yourself.

Rakesh said...

how pissed was the guy you interviewed??

Karthik.H said...

Rape, I know, I apologised, no? :(
Man is pretty pissed, but 'nothing we haven't seen before' said boss man.

Rakesh said...

at long last, a post which i can relate to. Also, i understood it after reading it just once. :O

Sheila said...

Tsk. I'm never hiring you jetti!