ARTICLE: Common quoting practice misleads readers

Late-night scribbling by Ali Wade, licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The journalistic practice of “monologisation”, removing interview questions from the end product, can severely mislead readers, writes Lauri Haapanen of University of Helsinki. Haapanen compared the recordings of journalistic interviews carried out by Finnish journalists to the stories they wrote based on said interviews.

Haapanen recognized three categories of monologisation with varying degrees of omissions. Unfortunately, the most common form of monologisation omits most information, the author notes.

By obscuring or even hiding the original journalist-interviewee interaction, journalists exercise great power in shaping how the interviewees’ messages come through. Notably, an often lost piece of information is whether a statement is prompted by a journalist’s question or spontaneously offered by the interviewee, Haapanen demonstrates.

The article “Monologisation as a Quoting Practice” was published by the journal Journalism Practice. It is available online (abstract free).

Picture: Late-night scribbling by Ali Wade, licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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