Ravi Mohan's Blog

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Misquoted in the Media

A reporter from the Economic Times asked me for some information about our wargames club, conducted a telephonic "interview" with me and a couple of friends, and then wrote an article in the paper.

So far so good. What is not good is that he has quoted me as saying things I never said , and in horrendous English, to boot.

Here is what I am supposed to have said.

(Apologies for the terrible English and mangled tenses. *I* didn't say *any* of this. The journalist just says I did. The language and ideas are his, not mine. I checked with some journalist friends of mine and apparently this practice of expressing journalists' ideas as "quotes" from the people they interview is common practice in India! And I thought only the Indian Software Industry was a con game!)

Anyhow, onto the quotes (from the Economic Times dated 8th July 2007) - my comments below each quote

"We are an informal group of Wargamers based in Bangalore. We are interested in topics like strategy in wars, the history of warfare, historical re-creation of battles, battles of all times and eras. We do not use miniatures in our games but make do with suitable counters instead,” says Ravi Mohan, group co-ordinator."

[ I never said this. This paragraph is lifted straight from our club website. See the first paragraph].

The report continues to "quote" me.

In the last one year, the group strength has increased substantially. “

[huh? This is outright fiction. The club membership has held steady over many years and there were no additions in the last year. Needless to say, I never said this either! ]

As kids, we all use to play games such as this. So there is a natural interest. And, as awareness spreads, we'll see more people joining the fray,”

[Aargh! This is tortured, atrocious and ungrammatical English , and cliched to boot. Does anyone talk like this? "we'll see more people joining the fray" ?!!

The least a professional journalist could do (even when inventing quotes) is to use correct grammar.]

There are many unintentionally funny errors in the article- E.g: the use of "Canon" for "Cannon"- but it is too much effort to list them all here.

The next time someone wants to interview me for the mainstream media (and may that horrible day never come!) I'll just write the damn article myself. Or even better, run like hell!