My New Rule For Multi-Source Phone Briefings: Give Names When Speaker Changes

In writing up a news article based on a (vendor) phone briefing where there were three sources — all male — I’ve added another rule, or at least guideline, to my Best (well, Good Enough) Practices:

When there’s more than one source involved in a (phone) conversation, each time a different person speaks, they need to pause and re-ID who they are, so I can keep track, for quote attribution.For most of my phone interview conversations, I type a condensed verbatim transcript as best I can. (I’m a fast typist, and this is a lot quicker than transcribing after the fact.) But this isn’t as useful if I can’t tell afterwards who said what.

I’m prepared to waive this if I’m 100% sure I can tell from the voices. I get to be the one who makes this judgement.

So if you (PR person, etc.) are setting up a call where there will be more than one source in a call, be advised: I’m going to enforce this, meaning, each time somebody else starts talking, if they don’t start by re-announcing their name, I’ll interrupt with “Who’s speaking, please?”



(That’s me “talking.”)

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