Without context, quotes can sound really bad


Like, for example, the following:

I recently interviewed Gary Goodyear for a story. He is Canada’s minister of state for science and technology. At some point during our interview, he said the following:

All of that micromanagement was a lot of work.

Now, that really does sound like it could be bad. I won’t provide the context right now, because the story isn’t out. But rest assured that when the story does hit stands — online or print — I will fill you in on what exactly Goodyear was talking about, and I guarantee he will sound competent.

The purpose of this is simply to illustrate how easy it is for us journalists to make someone look like a bad manager.

Keep that in mind next time you read a story about leaked recordings. Just practice some personal due diligence.


4 Responses to “Without context, quotes can sound really bad”

  1. Or when watching Tory attack ads.

  2. Very, very true.

  3. I guess if you want to be a prick about it… I can understand how this works, but it does not only apply to journalism. Science also has this problem, because in the realm of statistics, much of the groundwork is not shown to the reader, but can be easily modified by the writer. I am currently reading a book about the subject (Doubt is their product, ISBN 978-0-19-530067-3), and it is a tough job for all of us. Critically thinking about every piece of information that we read, hear, or see… it seems like a lot of work.

  4. Wait, so making this point makes me a prick? Fair enough.

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