The Katz Tapes presents the written transcriptions I made myself after taping the interviews on cassette. These transcripts are almost — but not quite — word for word versions of the interview. But there are differences between what is on the tapes and my transcriptions because I was far more concerned with getting down what I needed to write my story and meet my deadline than in writing down every last word spoken.
What this means is:
1. I almost always omitted the hello and goodbye parts of an interview.
No need to bother with the likes of “Hello, this is Larry Katz from the Boston Herald, how are you today?” and “Okay, thanks for the time, it’s been swell talking to you.”
2. I seldom bothered to transcribe my questions in full.
What I usually wrote down was the gist of the question, just enough so I could read it back and understand what I was getting at, rather than going to the trouble of capturing every word out of my mouth, which would have been a needless waste of time and energy given that I was writing a feature story as opposed to a question-and-answer type piece (and even with a q and a, the q’s would be heavily edited in order to conserve space). This means that my questions as they appear throughout The Katz Tapes are paraphrases of what I actually asked. They accurately capture the sense of the question, but not necessarily the exacts words. It would be nice if I could re-listen to all the tapes and get down every word exactly as spoken, but I don’t have the time, patience or desire. I hope you’ll agree that what’s far more important are the answers to my questions — the words that came out of the interviewees mouths — and those answers are close to 100 percent accurate. However, that brings us to……
3. Not every word of every interview will appear.
This is for several reasons in addition to those described in No. 1 above.
— Interviews sometimes went off topic. Sometimes I would transcribe these digressions, but if they were dull or had zero chance of being used in my story, I might not bother to write them down, especially if they occurred in the course of a particularly long interview, one that ran more than, say, 45 minutes.
— Sometimes I did write down the boring parts. Or bits and pieces of little relevance or importance then or now. So I may edit out irrelevant portions of an interview for reasons of readability and coherence. But I will try to keep any altering or fiddling with the transcripts to a minimum and will do my best to note any significant discrepancies between the actual tapes and the written versions as presented here.