In the course of my journalism work (which, for the record, is far more arts-oriented than investigative or hard-newsy), I’d estimate that a good ninety-five percent of my interviewees’ responses never get beyond a rough on-the-fly transcription, regardless of how insightful or engaging they happen to be. The two or three full quotes that ultimately find their way into, say, a 500-word article have almost certainly been snipped from a much longer conversation that includes (on a good day) a slew of contextual cul-de-sacs and tangential topics. It’s those interesting and informative digressions that often get left by the wayside, since the demands of brevity and thematic consistency dictate that the resulting article illuminates with a spotlight rather than the noonday sun.
So that the more fecund of those conversations weren’t relegated to a digital audio file archived in a sub-subfolder on my home server, I began the occasional practice of salvaging them by transcription about three years ago on the Blogger-hosted version of this blog. (The original preface to that practice is here.) Time and material permitting, I’m going to attempt to revive the “salvaged” tag here, starting with poet Major Jackson.