Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Don't Trust Memory 

As this article relates, memory can be altered in a number of ways, and one never knows it is happening.  That is why in journalism as well as in PR that one fact checks constantly.  There is rarely a time when one dare trust recall to be entirely correct.  What did that executive actually say?  How did those events unfold?  Memory under stress is worse.  One holds on to a particular point but forgets the rest.  The first rule of PR is accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.  That rule remains unchanged because journalists think we lie for a living.  The way to gain their credibility is to be more correct than they are..  Hence, we take notes.  We document.  We check everything repeatedly before publishing it.  We don't trust memory to get it right., even if our memories are good.  Such fact-checking becomes part of institutional memory.  When successors check back into the files years later, they can trust what they find because of the careful work that went into making the files in the first place.  


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