Richard Oliff: Should I reveal all?

Should Richard 'reveal all' if he writes a book of his life?
Should Richard 'reveal all' if he writes a book of his life?
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I have a dilemma.

Many of my friends have asked me to write a book about my experiences in broadcasting, with a particular emphasis on my interviewees.

I’ve never been a fan of anything that “reveals all” purely for commercial purposes, which many would see as the attraction for such a publication.

With this in mind the only revelation would be the original broadcast material and nothing else.

Most, if not all of the people that have trusted me over the years have done so for that very reason: trust.

Of course there are the secrets and in my view that is exactly as they should remain.

Off-air comments were private at the time and should stay that way.

However, having said that, I see nothing wrong in presenting an objective personal overview of my experience of interviewing individuals without having to resort to the “sexing-up” of detail.

For example, sometimes someone will tell me things, on the record, that contradict historical reference concerning an event, sequence of events, relationships: that kind of thing.

These revelations are worthy of a broader audience.

I know of one broadcaster who’d gained the trust of an internationally famous family, only to spread the most intimate details of their lives across national and international publications.

Sure, he made a great deal of money from the enterprise, but his integrity as a writer and broadcaster became severely damaged, and he lost that trust that was integral to his craft.

I find it flattering when a potential interviewee says that they have “checked me out” prior to our meeting or telephone interview.

Of course they’ve done their homework too: it means they trust me.

So, writing a book. Well, it’s much harder to write a piece of non fiction, but perhaps it’s worth a shot.