Once the interview was the dazzling format of journalism. The interview was informative and attractive at the same time. Often with a very authentic portrait photograph illustrated. Today the interview risks falling into insignificance or even submission. when journalists are embedded in PR , lulled by marketing departments or lobby mafia. Journalists are resisting the accusation of being the extended arm of politics. So, where is this suspicion of being compliant with the powerful then coming from? The accusation to write every time always the same all over again is not a guess, it is a fact.
However, these journalists are feeding these accusations when you listen to this wonderful Lady acting as the PR (Spokesperseon) for the US star department. And luckily there is always another Hurricane or another pig which can be chased through the news. Since 2001 mainly wage dependent journalists are certainly not use to 'grill' these PR twaddles. Its more like a pack of hungry dogs fed with tranquillisers so the PR (Spokesperson) has an easy task to play with journalists. Freelancer are the last who’re getting the change for an interview.
Its my opinion that the "embedded journalists”, created in the post 9/11 climate and then crafted to perfection during the war in Iraq has destroyed the rules of the way interview should be performed. The “embedding” gave birth to a consensus that if you do not play to the rules demanded by e.g. the political departments of military you will not get the “the story” of the interview. If you are willing to “embed” you will even get a interview. That these interviews now have become merely a option to deny. should see and hear what the army wanted to show - so straightforward war PR. And this “embedded journalism” is now working with the very same tactic: The outstanding news, which will be at the center of the interview, is determined by the politicians in advance. The rest is adornment.
The times are over as a press department wrote a PR text and faxed or emailed it to all major editorial offices. Today PR’s work is to call one,or eventually even two of the big-city editorial offices to ask whether interest exists - otherwise you could also invite another editorial office. The advantage for the departments secretaries or opposition leaders and all those others “decision takers is obvious: reporting a serious newspaper increases attention, credibility and value.
The “embedded interview”, however, violates the rules for a professional interview:
1. to be thoroughly prepared for all interviews. Anyone who embeds, leaves the preparation to the interviewee and his PR department.
2. The journalist must try to bring a goal-setting and try to achieve it. Anyone who embeds, takes over the target of the interviewee and puts it through for him.
3. The questions must contain every contradiction which at least some of the readers would have liked to have expressed.
Anyone who embeds can accommodate this contradiction in the long version of a interview. There should be no excuse that e.g. the average reader knows the news from TV- and Radio news and hardly reads the long interview or, the journalist does not want to cross with the minister and ask unpleasant questions, as he risks otherwise being excluded from the circle of the exclusive.
A journalist, who likes to work in a capital with access to all governmental departments in reach, would hardly criticise his publisher. Correspondents these days increasingly meet the expectations of their own publishing house and their own newspaper. Chief editors, publishers and managing directors appreciate exclusive interviews.
“Quality journalism” is rather a subject of wishful thinking: Anyone who is reading the short messages on Google News can find citations from other news outlets means exclusive news is worth less in the online age than ten or twenty years ago. If the readers still appreciate journalistic work can de doubt. Most read the news with like journalists themselves from yellow press and real mass media outlets and probably do not even know after a few minutes where the information first was published.
I consider it a “Trump-effect” when the New York Times and the Washington Post and other major US newspapers are among the first six of the most cited. Trump instead of local? But local, even national news are the glue of societies. If local and national news are being thrown under the bus because 5 major wire services are dominating the international information the de-solidarisation of the societies are the consequence because this glue is ignored.
So again the objection, journalists are drifting off politics, and the proposal is simple as this: More research than PR! Knock the powerful on the fingers! Do not run after them!
For example, Rene Zeyer, a company consultant and journalist in Zurich, has written an essay in the current "Swiss Journalist" (8-9 / 2017): "The transformation of the spoken word into the written or transmitted word the interview has largely degenerated into an austerity measure. "
Zeyer quotes Markus Spillmann, editor-in-chief of the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung", who already complained about the embedded interviews in 2012: "Interviews are now often used by the interviewees or their press offices . "
Zeyer also recalls the finest hours of interviews:
The New York Times interview with Fidel Castro on February 24, 1957;
the interview of Oriana Fallaci with Henry Kissinger and the sentence that the Vietnam War was useless.
On the Fallaci interview, Zeyer makes clear what a good interviewer has to do: he does not ask, he is very well prepared and brings the interviewed, even with emotional force, to say what he did not really want to say.