Misquoting is OK

Let’s start with a quote:

Here’s my advice: If you do an interview with a journalist, don’t expect the journalist to be there to tell your story. The journalist gets paid to tell her own stories which you might or might not be a part of. And journalists, don’t be so arrogant to think you are not “one of those” who misquotes everyone. Because that is to say that your story is the right story. But it’s not. We each have a story. And whether or not someone actually said what you said they said, they will probably still feel misquoted. (Penelope Trunk on journalism)

So, if I’m being interviewed for an article about myself, I’m not being interviewed to tell a my story, I’m only acting as base research for someone else’s story about me? Doesn’t that sort of fight against the purpose of journalism?

I do understand that telling someone else’s story is hard. In her article she makes a point that when a photographer takes a picture, it’s his/her interpretation of the scene. In the same way an article is someone else’s interpretation of a story. But as far as I understand, a quote is a quote. If I read a quote from someone I want to be able to assume that that person actually said that and is not being ‘interpreted’.

If Mrs. Trunk was right we could use what she writes:

He basically made me sound like a lunatic. Like I was probably a liar and maybe delusional, depending on how someone ordered the video.

To create this piece of journalistic truth:

I’m basically a lunatic, a liar and definitely delusional.

Now think of it, my version might even be closer to truth.

–kristian

BTW, her article is called ‘It Doesn’t Matter that Journalists Misquote Everyone’.

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