Question No. 4 (with a follow-up No. 5): “Wait, are you recording this?”

Ira Question | Written by Nathan Mattise

I received the following e-mail recently. I removed a few paragraphs and vague’d any specific identifiers to protect the confidentiality of this person, place and event (you’ll see why):

On [DATE], [FAMOUS LOCAL] will be in the [NEARBY CITY LOCATION] for a Q&A with students…

NOTE: Because this is an educational forum, [PERSON] would like to be able to speak candidly and off-the-record with students. Therefore we ask students “on the honor system” to refrain from recording this session on cell phones or video cameras, tweeting, blogging, etc.  This will not be an coverage opportunity for either professional or student media.  Please communicate this to students when you mention the appearance…

However, I feel it’s our obligation to make students aware of a guest’s wishes.  A student then has the right to ignore those wishes – just as a journalist can decide whether or not to respect a source’s request for anonymity — but at the risk of his or her own professional reputation…

I immediately wondered about being a major knowledgeable and influential celebrity in today’s digital age.  When Ira Glass comes through a town,  any and all academics and media enthusiasts come out and certainly bring their recorders/cameras/notebooks/smart phones. This American Life doesn’t exactly shy away from controversial subjects either.

So, if a local presentation could turn into a global message…

When making public appearances, do you find yourself avoiding certain topics all together or drastically diluting your thoughts? Are you worried about bloggers/citizen journalists/etc. creating unintended content?

Links: (None)

E-mail us if you have a question for Ira Glass to discuss or if you have insight on this one


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