Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fear of the quoted

So I get a call this morning from a reporter from my local university-sponsored newspaper. She's doing a piece on the popularity of blogging: it seems that a study has recently come out saying that 40% of teenagers have a blog. I've been tapped as a source because I'm teaching a course next semester on blogging. Why am I teaching it? What are the benefits of blogging? What about the use of slang in blogs: might that not be a bad thing?

So I talk, talking up blogging, of course. Blah blah blogging.

And afterwards I cringe at the thought of seeing my quotes in print.

Clancy recently asked whether her readers think of themselves as better speakers or writers. For me, it's definitely writing. Seeing my spoken words in printed form tends to make me uncomfortable. They're so raw. Unedited. Not very intelligent-sounding.

Maybe I was just traumatized by the first time I was quoted in a newspaper. At IU one summer, I was interviewed by a student reporter who was writing an article about the (drum-roll, please!) upcoming lunar eclipse. What did I think about it? Was I going to stay up to see it. I'm a graduate student, I tell her. I don't know what's going on. So should I say that you weren't aware of it, she asks. Just say I didn't know about it. And that's what she writes. At the very end of the article, on the front page of the paper, I was quoted thus: "I didn't know about it." End of article.

Ever since then, I've been worried about not only the words that are selected, but where they appear. So I feel some trepidation. The reporter emailed me this afternoon to check the accuracy of the quotes she'll be using. They seemed fine, and I told her so, but I had to overcome a deep desire to doctor my own quotes. To make them sound eloquent.

But that would be violating a basic tenant of blogging, wouldn't it? So I didn't. And we'll see, won't we, how it all turns out.


marcia said...

I'm sure it will be fine. When is the article supposed to be printed?

Keri said...

Hold on! You are teaching a class on blogging next semester?

Donna said...

I don't know when the article is coming out. I don't subscribe to the Missourian, so I check the website now and again to see if anything has appeared. I haven't seen it so far.

And, yes, I'm teaching a class on blogging, primarily as a reading/writing class, but spiced up with a little bit o' theory. (Not much, really.) It's currently full, primarily with juniors and seniors. I still need to make sure it's being switched to a computer classroom, however. Course description can be found here.