Author Topic: A truly bizarre question to be asking  (Read 3828 times)

runbikerun

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A truly bizarre question to be asking
« on: June 05, 2019, 03:21:00 PM »
Here goes:

As well as posting occasionally here, I also post quite regularly on another (much larger) website, which has a subforum relating to FI. I posted a comment on a post today which drew a substantial amount of traffic, and then received a message from a journalist working for a pretty large American media company asking if I'd be willing to be interviewed on the subject of financial independence on a non-STEM salary. The thing is, I work in a customer-facing role in financial services, and if my name is quoted beside anything that could be construed as financial advice then my employer needs to know about it (which is entirely fair: I'm listed on LinkedIn as an employee, and I'm on the relevant regulatory register as staff with them). In other words, if I want to be interviewed, I have to speak to my boss and seek permission.

There are a couple of potential negatives here:
-The first is probably pretty trivial, but I'm still a little leery of risking any kind of public connection between my own name and my username here and elsewhere. Being interviewed probably won't have much of an impact, but there is a small chance that someone could realise the link.
-The second is fairly substantial: no matter what I say to my employers, they may assume going forward that my long-term plan is to walk out the front door the moment the numbers add up. I'm actually no longer certain this will be the case (let's be honest, this all came about because I, a financial advisor, chose to write about financial planning in my spare time), but going to my boss and explaining the situation may mean the higher-ups write me off as willing to walk away early, or may even mean I'm regarded as a "safe" option if numbers need to be cut given that they'll at least strongly suspect I hold enough savings to get by for months.
-The third is a really odd one. They may decide to take a look at my posting history and accuse me of posting too often during working hours. I don't think this is very likely at all, but it's a non-zero possibility.
-Lastly, there's a very strong chance that if I'm allowed to speak, it'll be heavily controlled and our legal and marketing teams will insist on vetting every word, which doesn't exactly fill me with joy.

Against that, however, is a fairly substantial positive:
-From a career perspective, being interviewed by a major news outlet on the subject of financial planning could be a massive boost. My employer is currently focusing pretty strongly on overall financial health, and being "that guy who got interviewed by American media because he wrote about financial health" would be a very strong calling card.
-There's also a very strong focus in a lot of the kind of jobs I'm looking at on written communication skills. Again, it would be a hell of a story to be able to pull out in an interview when asked whether I have a demonstrable record of strong written communication.

I have to decide whether to go to my boss and ask permission to speak to the journalist. In my situation, would you?

seemsright

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 03:30:29 PM »
How much FU money do you have?

How much do you want to do the interview?

Answer those two questions and go from there.

I personalty would not want to jump through hoops to do the interview. I know each company has rules on what their employees do but I am not fully understanding why they would get a say in what you do on your own time. Did you sign a non disclosure? Check your paperwork.

I never played well with bosses. I FIRED 9 years ago because I never played well with bosses so please take my post with a grain of salt...I do not know if you have a legal requirement to speak to your boss before the interview. Make sure you fully understand your rights 

Lady SA

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 03:42:46 PM »
How much "face time" would this interview consist of? Like is this a substantial interview, or would they take a 2 second sound byte from you to use in their broadcast? The answer to this would tell me how much effort I would be willing to put forth to make this interview happen.

The positives you list would come from a more substantial, in depth interview. Is this your understanding of what would occur, if you did it?

G-dog

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 03:44:20 PM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

geekette

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2019, 03:49:27 PM »
^ This!

Kris

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2019, 04:21:02 PM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.


secondcor521

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2019, 04:43:43 PM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.

Thirded.  I've actually been interviewed and quoted twice by a major national publication in the context of financial stuff.  Most of the time, the author of the piece already has "the story" in mind, and only that portion of what you say (or even don't say, as Kris notes sagely above) which supports "the story" will appear in the finished product.

G-dog

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2019, 04:44:59 PM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.

Thirded.  I've actually been interviewed and quoted twice by a major national publication in the context of financial stuff.  Most of the time, the author of the piece already has "the story" in mind, and only that portion of what you say (or even don't say, as Kris notes sagely above) which supports "the story" will appear in the finished product.

Yep - I was misquoted. Quite frustrating. 

Kris

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2019, 05:06:32 PM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.

Thirded.  I've actually been interviewed and quoted twice by a major national publication in the context of financial stuff.  Most of the time, the author of the piece already has "the story" in mind, and only that portion of what you say (or even don't say, as Kris notes sagely above) which supports "the story" will appear in the finished product.

Yes. Exactly. The story is already in their head. You are just there to provide a quote that fits it. Whether you do or not.

Buffalo Chip

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2019, 08:12:26 PM »
Fifthíd. I donít see the upside to you. If they wanted an in-depth interview theyíd more likely go to someone like MMM.  More than likely, the narrative has already been written and they just need someone for a quote. You out yourself with all the attendant risks and get little in exchange.

GreenEggs

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2019, 08:47:08 PM »
I think you might be overestimating the potential career boost.  I agree with the other posters that the negative risks easily outweigh the positive maybes.


Interviews are a nice, but brief ego stroke.  But the truth is you will remember it much longer than anyone else. 





markbike528CBX

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2019, 09:46:02 PM »
Here goes:
...big snip......

Against that, however, is a fairly substantial positive:
-There's also a very strong focus in a lot of the kind of jobs I'm looking at on written communication skills. Again, it would be a hell of a story to be able to pull out in an interview when asked whether I have a demonstrable record of strong written communication.......snip.....

How does a verbal interview, written by someone else, probably inaccurately, create "a demonstrable record of strong written communication." for YOU?

expatartist

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2019, 10:28:42 PM »
Here goes:
...big snip......

Against that, however, is a fairly substantial positive:
-There's also a very strong focus in a lot of the kind of jobs I'm looking at on written communication skills. Again, it would be a hell of a story to be able to pull out in an interview when asked whether I have a demonstrable record of strong written communication.......snip.....

How does a verbal interview, written by someone else, probably inaccurately, create "a demonstrable record of strong written communication." for YOU?

You could instead offer to write an opinion piece - with your employer's permission of course.

Zikoris

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2019, 10:34:57 PM »
I do media stuff from time to time (maybe once or twice a year). I find it fun, and I like having an opportunity to spread a message that I really think can help a lot of people live better lives. A lot of people seem to like reading FIRE stories that don't involve STEM, high salaries, or windfalls. In my case, people also seem to get a kick out of the crazy receptionist with tons of money who Costco-shops with a cat stroller ans travels to six countries a year while saving 65% of her income, so the media stuff can come out pretty entertaining. I think it's very valuable for more "normal" people to talk about FIRE, because a lot more people will be able to connect with that experience.

My perspective with my job was very much "eh, who gives a crap, I'll deal with whatever happens when it happens". My employer at the time was very surprised because I'd been totally quiet about it prior to showing up on the front page of the newspaper half the partners had a subscription to, and I got pulled into a meeting with HR the next day and told "Please don't tell anyone you work here, but otherwise go ahead and do whatever media stuff you want".

A few years later I was looking for a new job, and it came up in the interview because they had googled me - they were wondering what was going on with that, so I was very straight up and just said "Yeah, I'm looking to work for five years and then retire", and that was fine - five years seems to be enough that people don't see it as too much of a liability, especially for a receptionist. If I was looking for work now, I would probably just do a couple of maternity leave contracts and then pull the plug.

I personally wouldn't ask permission, if I wanted to do it I just would, and then deal with the fallout if there was any.

expatartist

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2019, 11:12:42 PM »
It depends a lot on your industry and company, and how much of a career track mentality is expected. If working in finance I'd be careful.

I work in a pretty public creative role. Before doing anything which could be considered a conflict of interest like giving art workshops (even volunteering) outside the org, I always clear it with my director first. My contract states I could be terminated for "activities which reflect poorly upon" or compete with the organisation, so I casually chat with my director first. She's never said no, to me it's simply keeping everyone informed so there are no surprises.

runbikerun

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2019, 12:34:57 AM »
Here goes:
...big snip......

Against that, however, is a fairly substantial positive:
-There's also a very strong focus in a lot of the kind of jobs I'm looking at on written communication skills. Again, it would be a hell of a story to be able to pull out in an interview when asked whether I have a demonstrable record of strong written communication.......snip.....

How does a verbal interview, written by someone else, probably inaccurately, create "a demonstrable record of strong written communication." for YOU?

It's not the content of the interview so much as its existence. For example, if I mentioned in an interview that I'd been interviewed by CNN/NBC/the NYT on the subject of financial planning, the immediate response would be a series of questions about why and how this came about - at which point I'd be able to say that it was on the strength of a written post on a website (and no other explanation would make sense).

Not that it matters, though - the responses here have convinced me that doing it wouldn't be a great idea.

BicycleB

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2019, 12:39:37 AM »
I've been interviewed (not on financial matters) and was accurately represented in the resulting stories.

My guess is the career benefit is worthwhile, and you should take advantage of the opportunity.

It wouldn't hurt to record your own statements for clarity's sake, just in case you need to prove "What I said is this, not that." But that's a fine point. If your firm is comfortable with giving it a shot, give it a shot.

Linea_Norway

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2019, 01:40:10 AM »
Also, if you want to make a future career as a financial guru after you have FIREd, you could get yourself a nickname, like MrMoneyMustache or any of the other anonymous bloggers. And stay anonymous as long as you are working and care about getting fired.

mozar

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2019, 07:17:45 AM »
How easy would it be to get another job? I've been interviewed a few times and my employer didn't notice. It was not the same industry though. If this is something you want to tell your grandkids it's worth it.


GuitarStv

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2019, 07:23:01 AM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.

Thirded.  I've actually been interviewed and quoted twice by a major national publication in the context of financial stuff.  Most of the time, the author of the piece already has "the story" in mind, and only that portion of what you say (or even don't say, as Kris notes sagely above) which supports "the story" will appear in the finished product.

Yes. Exactly. The story is already in their head. You are just there to provide a quote that fits it. Whether you do or not.

Could you not just record the interview for yourself while it's going on?  Then if something doesn't look right in the story you can contact the editor and force them to print a retraction . . . but you simply having the conversation is likely to make the reporter a lot more careful about quoting you correctly.

Home Stretch

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2019, 08:22:35 AM »
Heh, I saw the post on that other site. For what it's worth - it was a great response and seemed to genuinely help the person who was looking for advice.

As far as doing the interview, I think you should do it, but under an alias. If you have to give your real name, then I'd say it's a non-starter, especially if they're going to publish things like your salary in the final publication.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2019, 11:08:07 AM »
Heh, I saw the post on that other site. For what it's worth - it was a great response and seemed to genuinely help the person who was looking for advice.

As far as doing the interview, I think you should do it, but under an alias. If you have to give your real name, then I'd say it's a non-starter, especially if they're going to publish things like your salary in the final publication.

+1

I would do it but insist that they can verify your identity but not use it publicly and use an alias instead, happens all the time. That doesnít help your career boost but honestly there are other ways you can build that.

Car Jack

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2019, 01:03:56 PM »
I've been asked to be interviewed a few times.  I've agreed once, but it was a very specific topic where no financial advice was being sought.  More like a "you are part of a group that did *this*.  How did you get through it?".  It was about funding kids in college.

After that interview, and reading the article later, I decided that I'd decline going forward.  Took a good 30 minutes on the phone and I just felt the interviewer had an agenda and was looking for back up for her pre-set facts.  This was a pretty well known financial commenter.

The few other times I've been asked, I've declined and will going forward unless they want to talk to me about why the Jeep Wrangler is the most awesomest vehicle ever made.

GreenEggs

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2019, 07:51:00 AM »
I've been asked to be interviewed a few times.  I've agreed once, but it was a very specific topic where no financial advice was being sought.  More like a "you are part of a group that did *this*.  How did you get through it?".  It was about funding kids in college.

After that interview, and reading the article later, I decided that I'd decline going forward.  Took a good 30 minutes on the phone and I just felt the interviewer had an agenda and was looking for back up for her pre-set facts.  This was a pretty well known financial commenter.

The few other times I've been asked, I've declined and will going forward unless they want to talk to me about why the Jeep Wrangler is the most awesomest vehicle ever made.


It's because you can take the doors off & show off your flip-flops, right?!  ;)

GuitarStv

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2019, 07:54:38 AM »
I've been asked to be interviewed a few times.  I've agreed once, but it was a very specific topic where no financial advice was being sought.  More like a "you are part of a group that did *this*.  How did you get through it?".  It was about funding kids in college.

After that interview, and reading the article later, I decided that I'd decline going forward.  Took a good 30 minutes on the phone and I just felt the interviewer had an agenda and was looking for back up for her pre-set facts.  This was a pretty well known financial commenter.

The few other times I've been asked, I've declined and will going forward unless they want to talk to me about why the Jeep Wrangler is the most awesomest vehicle ever made.


It's because you can take the doors off & show off your flip-flops, right?!  ;)

I can do that with my '05 Corolla.



It's getting the doors back on that's the tricky bit.

BicycleB

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2019, 05:20:42 PM »
Someday I will understand what @GuitarStv's avatar really is. In the meantime, his comments are comic gold.

GuitarStv

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2019, 06:20:53 PM »
Someday I will understand what @GuitarStv's avatar really is. In the meantime, his comments are comic gold.

It's an image of the ideal time trialist physique.




:P




G-dog

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2019, 06:21:53 PM »
Someday I will understand what @GuitarStv's avatar really is. In the meantime, his comments are comic gold.

It's an image of the ideal time trialist physique.




:P

Lots of teeth - needs a mouth guard to protect those!

pagoconcheques

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #28 on: July 01, 2019, 03:13:18 PM »
I was interviewed by a local newspaper journalist early in my career and he spun my comments/answers into unrecognizable drivel that had nothing to do with what I said.  I resolved never to talk with journalists again, to the point where I don't even socialize with people in the profession.  YMMV.

lollylegs

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #29 on: July 01, 2019, 04:14:00 PM »
I've been interviewed several times on TV and for newspaper stories related to my job & studies - I'd never recommend it if you can get out of it - they will tell the story that they want to tell - they do not care one jot what YOUR story is, it will be spun into whatever view they want to present to their readers/viewers. Avoid journalists like the plaque unless you really like attention.

aetheldrea

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2019, 07:25:43 PM »
Someday I will understand what @GuitarStv's avatar really is. In the meantime, his comments are comic gold.

It's an image of the ideal time trialist physique.





:P
lol I always thought it was a badger

marble_faun

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2019, 07:54:36 PM »
Glad the OP decided not to do this.

Unless there is some obvious upside (like getting publicity for a business or other project), it's best to avoid journalists looking for quotes.  You lose privacy, and you are vulnerable to them, as they can portray you however they want, misconstruing your message.

Depending on how it goes, you could also end up attracting viral attention, including an unending blizzard of angry comments.

It's not worth it just to see your name in print!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2019, 08:43:25 AM by marble_faun »

Rdy2Fire

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2019, 06:55:19 AM »
For years I worked for a major financial firm and I agree with the early person who said you need to answer how bad you want to be interviewed.

With that said it's unlikely they would track you down or find out how much you posted etc however, if this is really a concern then all you have to do is explain to the outlet that you have to get permission (they are well aware of this) and you need to provide a very specific outline of what they want to speak about and even the questions, to provide your company. They should be able to provide that and from it you can use it to answer the above and even ask for some things to be removed. Also, is this going to be live or taped? If taped you can just tell them ahead of time you won't be answering any questions that you don't feel comfortable with.

I had done a couple interviews I needed to get clearance on and you can definitely steer this how you like assuming they really want to speak to you but your company may still deny the request

Jouer

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2019, 11:22:45 AM »
If you are using your name and position (and company?), you likely need to run this by your PR or comms department, who are very careful with making sure any messaging is in line with company standards, brand, compliance, etc.


spartana

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2019, 11:46:45 AM »
Someday I will understand what @GuitarStv's avatar really is. In the meantime, his comments are comic gold.

It's an image of the ideal time trialist physique.




:P
you have competition ;-)

As for the OP - personally I would vote against doing an interview. Not only are you likely to be outted in many places ( do you really want us here to know who you are in RL?) and your career could be harmed, but it is highly likely that the FI and RE message you wish to convey will end up being viewed and written as something completely different then you intended. And then there's the comments...so many negative comments. Nope I wouldn't do it. 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 11:53:46 AM by spartana »

runbikerun

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2019, 06:37:39 AM »
This ended up being something of a damp squib - the planned interview and article never happened.

Thanks to everyone offering advice and suggestions, though!

Also: there must be an image hosting error somewhere, because GuitarStv says their avatar is an image of the ideal time triallist physique, but I can't see a picture of Fabian Cancellara.

radram

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2019, 06:58:40 AM »

Yep - I was misquoted. Quite frustrating.

You were an astronaut? What an interesting career :)

ender

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2019, 07:18:39 AM »
I would not - mostly because many journalists get your info just wrong enough to really twist what you have said (not necessarily maliciously, but accidentally).  You likely wonít get an option to review and correct before publication.

I donít think it is worth it.

I donít necessarily have an opinion on what you should do, but I second this. Iíve been interviewed a few different times in my life, in two different countries/languages. Every single time, they have somehow changed at least one thing I said substantially enough that it wasnít actually what I said.

lol, this reminds me of how when I was in college, I literally wrote down a quote so that the school newspaper wouldn't get it wrong.

SURPRISE it changed.

markbike528CBX

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Re: A truly bizarre question to be asking
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2019, 09:20:32 AM »
Even pictures can fib.  I was photographed and the published result was flipped to the mirror image.
And the caption, well I don't remember telling the reporter that.  I did at least make the cover page of the UW (University of Washington ) Daily.