Be very careful what you say


As a Vancouver Sun reporter for more than 30 years you might think I would have no fear of being interviewed.

Why then am I a gibbering wreck curled up in the fetal position at the very thought of being in the public spotlight.

It’s because I know I will have little or no control over the finished product, whether it’s in print or on TV or radio.

Will I be quoted out of context? Will only part of what I say be printed or heard? Will what I meant to say be misconstrued?

Sadly, the answer is: Maybe. Almost certainly. And,  quite possibly.

As a reporter I have been asked a thousand times: ‘Can I read your article before it appears in print.’

Sorry, but the answer is no. The reason for this is that once you are confronted by what you said, almost certainly you will want to change it, or review it, or say it in a different way.

We can’t have that, can we? We’ll never meet our deadline if everybody interviewed could revise, re-write, or retract what they said.

I was reminded of this last week when I was interviewed by the Scott brothers, hosts of Off Topic, a 60-minutes lifestyle radio series broadcast on Corus Radio’s network of talk show programs across Canada.

I was asked for my views on pornography versus erotica and the difference between the two.  Then we got into why I chose erotica as the genre for my first novel. Then we talked briefly on how sex changes as you get older? Or at least, I think we did.

By this time, although I had prepared for the interview as best I could, I am quite sure I was a babbling idiot. Ten minutes had gone by in a flash.

What did I say? Did I make any sense? Oh dear.

One thing I know for certain. Nobody is going to tell me or protect me from myself.  I’ll have to tune in on October 20 to find out.

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