Monday, 19 January 2009

#74 – Notebooks vs recorders

Or making record time...

Recording devices
One of this blog’s regular readers, Ms Lucy, makes an interesting point:

“Just wondering, do you ever use a recording device, besides the notepad? Someone suggested this to me recently, and I'm not sure whether I'd feel self-conscious using this...Then again, so many people walk around talking to themselves on their 'blue Tooth'...”

Conducting interviews
My answer is that I do own a recording device, but I rarely use it. When I do, it’s for conducting interviews – it means I’ve got an accurate record of what has been said, and it allows me to listen properly to the interviewee without having to concentrate on scribbling everything they say down.

Listening to recordings
Even then, I’ll rarely listen to the recording afterwards. I’ll generally only require one or two quotes, and I generally recognise what these will be at the time and write them down.

Braying into a mobile phone
But for other circumstances, I think it’s best to just stick to the notepad. Firstly there’s the self-consciousness aspect. Secondly, I’d put someone walking around a museum talking into a Dictaphone in the same category as those arseholes that bray constantly into their mobile phone throughout a train journey.

The process of writing notes
I also find that the process of writing the notes is important. For some reason, writing something down makes it sink into the memory. In a way, I’m writing notes so that I don’t have to read them.

No fast forwards and pauses
Most importantly, using a notepad instead of an electronic recording device can make for massive time savings when it comes to writing the piece up. Why? When it’s recorded, you’re constantly having to fast forward, rewind and pause because we talk faster than we write. You also have to listen through to get all the information and check that it’s the bit you want.

Quicker with the notepad
Compare that to a notepad: it’s all there in front of you, you can flick to the bit you want without having to skip around to guess the right time and everything is spelt out. Do you really want to have to spell foreign word while you’re talking into your mechanical aid? It’s far quicker with the notepad, and far more functional.

1 comment:

Ms. Lucy said...

Your post makes for a very convincing argument...the notepad is here to stay. Thanks for this very useful and detailed info.