Why I Don’t Use a Recorder

via Tascam.com

via Tascam.com

I haven’t used a recorder since I was in college.

When I interviewed at the Chronicle, I asked my bosses what they thought about voice recorders and they encouraged me NOT to use them.

They said the recorders do come in handy, but learning how to take good notes is a skill that is learned through repetition, not relying a recorder.

I remember that I was worried, at first, when my bosses told me that. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I rely on pens and my notebooks.

Of course, I could use a recorder today, but I don’t think I know where I put my Tascam.

In all honesty, I trust myself now. I’m confident in myself and I don’t worry like I did over a year ago. It’s been tough, at times, but I have to thank my bosses for their “rule.”

Recorders aren’t all that they may be cracked up to be.

The devices aren’t perfect. They can mess up, or, if you don’t know how to use them correctly, you can lose interviews and/or break the recorder.

Just like I worry about not having enough pens, I used to always worry about running out of power thanks to dying batteries in teh middle of the interview. I think many forget that aspect. It’s technology, so it isn’t perfect.

My least favorite thing about recorders was the playback time. In order to transcribe an interview for a story, you have to “waste” precious time trying to get your quotes ready. No reporter has that kind of time. Do they?

I remember spending hours upon hours each week, while a student working for CCSU’s The Recorder, and I hated it. Just thinking about it, I hate it again.

I should have been using a notebook in college and I wish I had. I shouldn’t have gotten lazy.

Today, I’m saving time and practicing my note-taking skills.

And I can live with that.

Jonathan

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