See? It’s fine with context

25Jun09

I knew I would forget to do this.

In my last post, I demonstrated the ease with which journalists can take their subjects out of context. For this story in University Affairs, I interviewed Canada’s science minister, Gary Goodyear. Then I quoted him saying:

All of that micromanagement was a lot of work.

That might imply that Goodyear is just fine with micromanaging, a leadership style loathed by most subordinates in most workplaces. But with some context, that quote doesn’t sound nearly as vile.

Here is a lot more of what Goodyear said:

I’m going to have to say that [the Knowledge Infrastructure Program] has been [a success], but it hasn’t been without a lot of work. There have been some difficult meetings with lots of people in the room where we have had to brainstorm around a problem and solve it. And we’ve been able to do that. We’ve had multiple phone calls with institutions and trips to meetings with provincial folks to try to come to a common conclusion, or at least convince them that the modification of a program might make it acceptable, or this particular project will never fit this program. The projects were required to start immediately, so we did have to negotiate some of the start dates up-front. We did have to, in some cases, get confirmation that contractors were available and could do the job. All of that micromanagement was a lot of work.

See? When Goodyear used the term ‘micromanagement’, he meant something slightly different than most readers might think. So there you have it: case closed.

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