Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: Ms. Martin Clarifies What Happened On Her Show

Many of you are aware that I had a scheduled interview with Michel Martin on Tell Me More. Since I am an advocate for student loan debtors nationwide, I was under the impression that she was planning to interview me as an expert. It turns out, however, that the conversation did not go as I had expected, and I was quite disappointed by the outcome as well baffled by Ms. Martin's treatment of me as a guest. In any event, Ms. Martin just posted a nice explanation as to why things went the way they did on her show that day. She wrote:

Cryn -

We always regret it when a guest feels he or she has a poor experience on our program. We hate for that to happen. We also regret it when we are forced to spike an interview. Both things happened in your case and I feel badly about it.

The problem is that there was a miscommunication  between our producers, myself and you about what I had requested and understood about the nature of your participation and your understanding of why you had been booked. It was my desire to interview individuals about their personal experiences with excessive student debt. Your interview was to follow a conversation about the larger issue of student debt, that described just how large the student debt burden has become. You evidently believed you were to speak as an expert or advocate and without any mention of your personal experiences. That's perfectly reasonable but clearly a conflict of intention. It was not what I expected, nor what I had planned for. If we had planned to utilize you as an expert, we would have done far more due diligence about your expertise. Obviously, we could not do that once the interview had begun, especially as you are overseas and we had other interviews scheduled that day. We decided not to use the interview because we felt that the to-ing and fro-ing over your refusal to discuss your own personal story would not be interesting for our listeners or reflect well on the conversation, especially when you disclosed that you don't handle your own finances but leave that to your spouse. I agree that the issue of student debt is an important one and deserves more attention. and as we said, we had one such interview already. But, to be clear, you were not the right guest for that particular program on that particular day and I am sorry we wasted your time.

We have dealt with this issue internally and I hope we have all learned from your unfortunate experience.


Michel Martin
Host, NPR's Tell Me More 

Let me say publicly to you, Ms. Martin, that I am appreciative of the fact that you took the time to explain why things went the way they did, and I sincerely hope that when our paths cross again (and I hope they do), our conversation about this issue will be much different. While I respect Mr. Kantrowitz's position on things, he is not the only expert on this matter.


Anonymous said...

And knowing you are overseas--don't you think due diligence should have been done in advance rather than arrears?

Liz said...

So, wait... she spent the interview confronting you about your personal responsibility for the student loan issues, then BLAMED HER STAFF for the miscommunication?

I definitely want to cut her the break she wouldn't give to you at the time, but it is a little funny.

Anonymous said...

NPR should give you another interview.

That is, if NPR cares anything about human rights issues, and the growing number of lifetime Student Debtors.

I believe that the largest Student Loan debts come from the law Grads who cannot find work, and are now being doubly punished by the banks.

Anonymous said...

Mark K in fact is not an expert at all on student lending, and his "reign of error" will continue as long as there are lazy news editors who want a quick fix, fast turnaround quote for their reporters under arbitrary deadlines.