MG Siegler on the awful world of most online reporting:
Most are stories written with little or no research done. They’re written as quickly as possible. The faster the better. Most are just rehashing information that spread by some other means. But that’s great, it means stories can be written without any burden beyond the writer having to read a little bit and type words fast. Many are written without the writer even having to think.
Have you ever been interviewed by a reporter or blogger for a story? How accurately did the final story represent the truth, or what you said?
I’ve learned that talking to the press is like talking to the police — ideally, don’t, since your interests conflict and there’s little to no potential upside for you — but I regularly forget or ignore this wisdom.
Like MG says, most reporters are under a lot of pressures that work against the quality and accuracy of their stories. I’ve found that reporters have usually already written the story, at least mentally, before they ask me for a quote, and they’ll bend, twist, and edit what I say to support their narrative. I’m simply a puppet to tell their story, whatever it is.
Usually, I can sniff out a bad story by the interview request, and I’ll just decline to comment. But sometimes I mistakenly accept a bad interview and give quotes that get distorted, and the resulting story can be pretty far from the truth.
I try to remember that whenever I read anything in the press about a subject for which I don’t have first-hand knowledge.