And in a backgrounding and researching conversation over tea, I learned from a veteran PR person that she frequently gets requests for email interviews now, but only grants them to people who she knows well. Put me in that category after our tea. But as a timesaver, email questions (and responses) are fantastic. And even better, you can pull the quotes directly and there's little chance your source will ever come back and bite your ankles and say - 'Hey! I didn't say that.'
But this is precisely why some sources might prefer the telephone to answer questions. Tape record the conversation, you say? Not in California, unless you tell the person you are taping them. I don't know if it's a misdemeanor or a felony, but you can get in hot water.
Other states have the same law. Ask Linda Tripp about it if you see her at some day spa.
OP-ED IDEA FOR TODAY - In San Francisco, today is 'Biking to Work Day,' a celebration of the two-wheel contrivance that many urban dwellers prefer to the automobile. The Op-Ed would be to use the SF event as a springboard for looking at biking to work in your community, and what the benefits (no gasoline costs) and drawbacks (getting hit by a school bus) would be. Lots of easy sources and lots of statistics and any bike shop owner in town would love to talk about it. Plus, you could email the national bike associations and do an interview.
The link for the San Francisco Chronicle story about 'Biking to Work Day':