March 21, 2012

Has Mike Daisey illustrated how useless ‘man on the street’ interviews are?

“He was felled by the most dangerous transaction in journalism: the “man on the street” interview. …

“It’s a mess. Most of what you get is useless. When you are fishing — as Daisey was when he interviewed random people outside a Chinese factory — hours if not days can be squandered talking to people who turn out to be uninformed, incoherent, unreliable or even unstable.

“The notion that he could parachute into a foreign country, spend a few days and come back with an investigative exposé — it would be a first in the history of journalism.”

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Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens,…
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