Long form vs puff pieces
Recently the New York Times covered Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed firm Theranos. The article was roundly criticized for glossing over her major crimes and gushing over her normal life. At one point the reporter transparent notes her own editor said she was being duped.
Let us be clear: Theranos knowingly provided people false test results. This information led to anxiety and quite possibly worse. Moreover the company knew it's technology did not work, and continued the fraud for years. Yet this was not emphasized in the profile.
Meanwhile the world has moved away from profiles. We have long form interviews where politicians and celebrities can discuss their views for 2 or 3 hours. The difference between the two formats is striking.
Profiles filter a person through the lens of the writer while long form interviews deliver the raw data straight to the audience.
I have a suggestion. If newspapers insist on the antiquated format. They should make the raw interview fully available. Make the full audio recording of the interview available at the end of the essay. Let the readers decide if the profile was faithful.
To aid in this effort. Starting soon, I will only do interviews where the reporter agrees we can record the whole thing and I can put the audio out. More people should ask for this to be a condition of the interview. It will guard against both hit pieces and fluff pieces.
The future is here. Long form defeats profile. Time to embrace the change. Raw data availability is the future, inside and outside medicine.