Friday, May 13, 2005

Use a tape recorder, don't take a chance

SACRAMENTO - I have preached to a generation of students - never use a tape recorder because when you need it most it will fail. I have tons of anecdotal evidence to back up my point.

But now, I'm about to use a recorder, digital to be sure, but a recorder.

What changed my mind? Sitting in a room full of journalists who all have recorders of one kind or another whose quotes will be exactly what was said, not a sort-of, 'the gist of it all,' that was the standard for years. No, you go to hear the governor speak and you better have exactly what he said, and not be off by a pronoun. Or think about a hearing where you are there with a gaggle of reporters - all of whom have fancy recorders and are getting every word. Of course part of my lecture about not using recorders is so obvious when I attend big events - these folks take only the most sketchy notes and have to listen to the entire meeting, speech or press conference again to write their stories.

But that is another story.

OP-ED for the day - How about that Mayor of Spokane, Washington? A straight, anti-gay Republican turns out to be, well, gay. So, where does this work into an op-ed? Lots of possibilities, many of which deal with public officials and their secrets. How about an op-ed about the lack of privacy our public officials have now? How about adding in the new chips that people are implanting in animals? Or the chips that are going into cell phones so people can see where you are all the time? Check the Federal Trade Commission and see what it thinks about privacy regulations on new technologies. HINT: Not much.