Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You, I don't know. Um, I don't know that I would have, I don't know.

The Citizens' Voice published on Saturday an interview transcript with Luzerne County Prothonotary Jill Moran. It's an interesting insight into the interview methods of Dave Janoski and Larry Holeva. And it also makes Moran look like a blithering idiot.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interviews are the raw material journalists use to craft an insightful and concise story. What's lacking here is the context of the story presented in a clear and concise manner through tight writing. Journalists are supposed to comb through the interview, put aside the unnecessary, spotlight a few good quotes, and paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase.

Yes, she says "um" a lot. She repeats herself. She uses one word then changes her mind and uses another. Everyone does these things in conversation. "Um's" never make it to print because they act as filler during speech - they are an indication that someone is thinking of the right words. Any reporter will tell you a transcribed interview contains a shocking amount of "yeah," "oh," "er" and "ah." Along with laughter and sighs, none translate well to the page.

She's also at a disadvantage: while she may have rehearsed what she was going to say, both Holeva and the three reporters had prepared questions written in their notebooks.

While I'm not defending her actions regarding the lien, I question the reason to publish the "transcript excerpt." I don't see the advantage to the reader, unless the Voice was afraid of getting it wrong.

Was she aware the interview would be transcribed and published without being cleaned up? Even Q&A's are dusted for spoken debris. Or everyone would sound like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

"both Holeva and the three reporters had prepared questions written in their notebooks"
... and you know this how? You were there? You know for certain there were no impromptu questions? I never met a reporter who writes down each question in advance and asks nothing beyond those questions.

Anonymous said...

It's not as though she could not have anticipated the questions, and the reporters the answers. The specific points of controversy were on the table before the interview began. I think that in this case, the unfiltered transcript was newsworthy, and the reader can be allowed to draw his own conclusions from it.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more with 12:02.
As has been stated, few reporters have canned questions they ask interview subjects. As for the presentation of this interview, I love the fly-on-the-wall perspective. Yes, including all the ahs and ums may not have been necessary, but the transcript paints a brilliant picture of a completely inept and corrupt public official.
Jill Moran is scum and would resign if she had a modicum of decency.

Anonymous said...

But would that make any difference to the books in the library?

Anonymous said...

Moran will resign if the feds start breathing down her neck. If they stay away, she skates. I loved the raw interview, it showed Moran as she is, warts and all, and we have a need and a right to see that. To say that she was at a disadvantage is absurd. What she did was unethical, immoral, and if criminal, giddyup, let the charges move forward.

Anonymous said...

What's lacking here is the context of the story presented in a clear and concise manner through tight writing. Journalists are supposed to comb through the interview, put aside the unnecessary, spotlight a few good quotes, and paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase.

We already knew the "context of the story" - it has been well-publicized. Jill Moran is a seasoned attorney who knew precisely what the interview was going to be about. Are you suggesting she was somehow victimized?

I don't see the advantage to the reader...

The advantage is that we get to decide for ourselves what is "unnecessary", and what is telling.

Anonymous said...

Of course they had prepared questions. No one goes into an high-stakes interview -- or any interview -- without them. They keep you on track, keep the interviewee from leading you astray. But for every question the reporters anticipated, there were probably 10 others asked that sprung from her answers. They didn't read her the questions.

I still believe the transcript is an easy and artless way out of distilling the interview. What I really would like to see (hear) is the ENTIRE interview posted as a podcast.

Anonymous said...

Why run THIS transcript?

You don't do it for everyone. If you went out and interviews Leighton on an economic subject would you run all his "Ummms" and "ohhhs?"

It seems like there was an agenda to make Moran seem unprepared.

I don't know if this is true, I wasn't there. But to an outsider, it can be read that way.

Picking and choosing which ver batum transcripts you run can leave that impression.

Anonymous said...

Why *this* transcript? I suppose it was a judgment call - a good one. This story has far-reaching implications beyond the immediate ethics question. Her partner, the one she was trying to protect, has a large stake in a multi-multi-million dollar proposal for which he hopes to get public funding. Before that can be allowed to happen, we need to know who and what we're dealing with.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the CV should've run the transcript. Did they do so with Lupas over the Selenski debacle? In any case, (1) she obviously agreed to the interview, and (2) if she didn't know the answer to a question, all she had to do was say so.
Good gawd, she is dumber than a clump of Pottsville conglomerate.

Anonymous said...

9:36 PM

Excuse me? Was the jab at Pottsville really needed there???

Anonymous said...

It may have been a judgement call ... But I would not call it a "good" one ...

Here is the way I see it ... (Disclaimer: I am not a Voice employee, nor a TL employee.)

Is this issue an end all be all issue .. OR ...
Did you get beat on the story and you are trying to over-compensate ?

I read the original story and the Times Leader broke it ... The Voice has seemed to try to ride their coattails ...

The Voice had a few new angles, but for the most part, they were the secondary story.

SO... Do they run the transcript as a way to "One Up" the Times Leader?

Don't know exactly ... but I guess there is some truth in that..

Anonymous said...

I really like this thread: intelligent points, well made.

And for the first time in a long time no one was called a #$#%^\$, or a #$#&&#%, or (worst of all) a #$@&%.

Anonymous said...

Saying um ... ah ... yeah, etc. can imply one of two things: The interview subject is inarticulate and grasping for words or they are being evasive and taking great care in what they say and how they say it. I have to agree in part with 8:41. This is a case where an audio clip of the interview would be invaluable. The technology exists to post audio and the CV should have done just that.

Anonymous said...

I posted 10:19, 8:38, and 9:34 - pro-transcript. I'm not a journalist, not connected to the media, and generally don't even like the CV. I am, however, really fed up with these fat little lords and their fiefdoms, gorging themselves on our money, then lying, falsifying, and covering their cloven-hoofed tracks when somebody turns on the light and catches one of them with his face in the trough. The half-assed explanations and excuses they expect us to swallow are absolutely insulting. I don't want some reporter picking out the "good quotes" giving me the watered-down version - I've already heard it.

Anonymous said...

12:02 writes: "Journalists are supposed to comb through the interview, put aside the unnecessary, spotlight a few good quotes, and paraphrase, paraphrase, paraphrase."

Disagree with that sentence on a variety of points. First, in this case there is a public official who cannot properly give a timeline or a straight answer, so which quote do you use when she contradicts herself?
Second, the other paper in town beat you on the story, so how do you keep it fresh? Publish the transcript.
Third, even the NYTimes has published transcripts -- it's not like it violates the code of journalism or anything. Journalists' roles are always changing -- they do not have to stick to the roles 12:02 thinks they "are supposed to".

Anonymous said...

Dear 9:36 poster:
Get your geology textbook, "Pottsville conglomerate" is not a stab at the town, it's the name of a rock type found in the region. Geez.

Anonymous said...

Jill's hometown paper (she lives in the southern end of Luzerne County) sure has gone overboard in covering her tampering of a public record: two whopping stories.

Anonymous said...

Larry Holeva is a cocksucker.

Anonymous said...

Larry Holeva is still a cocksucker.