Wednesday, April 04, 2007

What's in your memo?

We all like to think we do our jobs well. But what would it be like to hear what sources really think of your technique?

Wired reporter Fred Vogelstein got that chance when Microsoft accidentally e-mailed an internal memo to him which included briefing notes for executives who were set to be interviewed.

Vogelstein blogs about the memo here. The feeling was more than he bargained for, he writes:

But after I was done reading all 5,500 words I no longer felt elated at the prospect of an interesting scoop. I felt downright peculiar. I've been a journalist for more than 20 years and always assumed that the people I interview do as much homework on me as I do on them. So the existence of a document like this didn't surprise me. But that still didn't make it any easier to read lines like, "It takes him a bit to get his point across so try to be patient." I know my long-windedness drives my wife nuts occasionally. I didn't know it had become an issue for Microsoft's pr machine too.


What do you think your sources would say about you? Are you too conspiracy minded? Do you misquote people or twist their words? Are you easy to talk to or offputting? Can readers trust what you write or do you constantly get it wrong?

What would be in your internal memo?

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Posted by T Dot at 11:40 AM | link

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Hmm... I'm not sure what the details would include, but I'm sure a memo about me would point out the following:

"She's actually quite pleasant and easy to talk to... but we think she's about 12. Maybe 13."

Posted by Blogger Duck @ 10:56 AM, April 08, 2007 #
 

I know what you're saying! I've gotten the "oh, are you an intern" or the "you're a reporter? how old are you" more than once in my day. But on the performance tip, I think my memo would say something like:

"She writes cleanly so that we can understand. She is quick to shut you down when you say something ignorant or contradict yourself and will stay quiet - for a while - when you yell. And she will quote you exactly as you speak - whether good or bad."

Posted by Blogger T Dot @ 3:10 PM, April 08, 2007 #
 
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