Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My experiences with foreign nationals and interviews

I was scheduled to interview a Saudi Arabian business representative today. It had been scheduled for over a week now. No problem, I have LOTS to ask about their country, etc...

I get there a littler early and had a muffin while the rep got set up. When I get back to her table, she asks when the story will run, I said tomorrow or Saturday, whenever there's room for the feature. Then she drops this tidbit, "It has to be approved by the commission (insert government there)." HUH??? You wait til NOW to tell me that? Well, not gonna happen in this life or the next. This is America and we DON'T play that game. Only my editor sees articles before they're printed.

The hostess of the export program came running and checked with others and it's true, those are the rules. Would have been nice to know that oh YESTERDAY!!! I felt bad for her, she was so embarrased. It wasn't her fault at all. Nobody could have anticipated that. I've never been faced with that situation before. I obviously said, it's not going to happen. Got me thinking of what it's like to be a "reporter" in that country. I can't imagine having to have the goverment approve every word I write. It's truly an eye opener for those of us in the business. Have any of you been faced with that situation?

The hostess was wonderful and immediately took me over to speak with a business rep from Chile. He was fun to talk to and gave me all sorts of information about the country, how the program works, etc... I'd happily interview him any day of the week and will continue to cover the annual event. I always enjoy meeting the various reps and learning more about their country and culture.

Just wanted to share my experiences and get some feedback on how you would have handled it. Would you have given in and done the interview with those rules? Would you have walked away, too?

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Blogger Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Hard call, girl.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

No way, dude. As a former TV news producer AND a graduate of the best Journalism school in the nation (ahem... I'm a little proud), there's no way I would have caved. Uh uh.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

Absolutely walk away.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hard to say. But I think I would have done the interview. It is a great opportunity to learn more about other cultures. And I'm sure once they read what you wrote, they wouldn't have any objections about your article being published. Lisa

7:42 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

You did the right thing. They would have like a nice piece about them but they cannot dictate the terms. They are in your "house" your rules, which are consistent with Ameican law and custom.

4:50 PM  

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