Posts tagged “editing”

Loss of Context II

From Secret Lives of Comic Store Employees,’s aspiring-to-anthropological-but-no-dice exploration of the subculture comes:

Biggest pet peeve about customers?
The perfectionists. Like the clerks with the eggs, inspecting each one.

That makes no sense. They’ve captured literally what they think the interviewee uttered (but not what they said, and certainly not what they meant). They should know enough contemporary culture to remember that Kevin Smith’s 1994 film Clerks featured a customer who would obsessively check every egg in every carton.

This guy is going through all of the eggs. Look.

An ODD MAN sits on the floor, surrounded by cartons of eggs, all opened. He grabs a carton from the cooler case, pops it open, and examines each egg carefully.

This is a regular challenge in interviewing. We must embrace enough of the respondent’s context (and Kevin Smith movies are absolutely within the context of a Comic Store Employee) in order to understand what we’re hearing. Simply reporting it will produce misleading garbage.

Also see: Loss of Context – where the interviewer/editor mixes up Digital Equipment Corporation and a digital equipment corporation.

Interviewing and Soundbites

Yesterday on KQED’s Forum their guest was Brooke Gladstone from On the Media. I was struck by this quote, early in the broadcast.

I will ask a question…maybe 5, 6 times, and the person we’re interviewing gets around to answering bits and pieces of it after every iteration and we will sometimes assemble all those answers into one.

This is the art of the interviewer — probing, following up, asking again, in order to get to the answer, eventually. It’s why interviewing in teams is tricky, because the other member of the team needs to know what’s in your head, to give you space to ask that question over and over again til you get to it. Regular people do not speak in soundbites.

We also see this over and over again when we’ve synthesized conclusions and we go look for supporting video data to share with our clients. It’s just not there as some obvious artifact. That’s why, of course, our recommendations come from synthesis — insights are not sitting there waiting to simply be scooped up, they have to be assembled from a variety of sources.

I am envious of those with amazing audio/video editing chops who can use the data to more closely approximate what we want to say; but at the end of the day, the big ideas rarely come out of people’s mouths directly.


Booking the hotel for our event at the IASummit I found this rough edge on the confirmation screen.
Circled in red, about halfway down. “Need copy.” Yes, you do still need the copy there. Sad that you launched this with the memo-to-self still intact. It’s smart to use a different tool for marking up content, lest the markup gets confused with the content itself. Proofreading can catch some of those mistakes, but not all of them. And here, we the end-user get a small reminder of the hands at work behind the scenes.

You’ve Got The Teeth Of The Hydra Upon You

An article on the recent Aryan Brotherhood convictions quotes Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School/former federal prosecutor.”But the truth is, this (gang) is like a hydra – you cut off a limb and it’s going to grow back,” she said. “These guys have been around a long time and they’re going to get new leaders.”

But the Hydra had many heads, not many limbs. It was difficult/impossible to kill because the heads would grow back. That really breaks her metaphor! I’m sure the journalist just went with the quote anyway, as did the editor. Too bad.

Stockstock Film Festival

Stockstock is a film festival consisting of short films made entirely from stock footage. We select a limited amount of stock footage and give it to you – your job is to make it into some kind of short video presentation.

Registration begins on Mar. 22!


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