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‘After-The-Fact Quote Approval’ Needs To Be Flushed

September 21, 2012

The New York Times can be the leader on this issue, one that had allowed the journalism horse and cart to be switched around.

In a nutshell The New York Times told its reporters not to engage in “after-the-fact quote approval” with sources.  This rather strange practice of news sources being allowed to approve quotations in stories after the fact allowed for all sorts of chicanery, especially from politicians.

The fact is that allowing sources to control the quote, in some cases allows for the tone and content of a story to be altered or skewered.  If a source can not talk to a reporter without having the final say as to whether a quote is approved for publication is just not in the best interest of the news consumer.  It certainly is not in the best interest of the journalism profession.

A directive was issued to Time’s reporters that the ‘quote approval’ will no longer be allowed for the nation’s most famed newspaper.

I am very proud of The New York Times for leading on this issue.

While this matter has been much discussed over the years as a way to limit ‘the blind quote’ which many reporters are uncomfortable with, and readers seem to view with suspicion, there is no way that a journalist should turn over the approval of a quote to a source that has many reasons to wish it not be printed.

Steps such as this one taken by NYT is yet another effort to bind the newsroom with the readers they inform and educate.  Every time such a move is made it demonstrates the respect news operations show to their readers/viewers and adds yet another layer of credibility to their news product.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Solly permalink
    September 24, 2012 12:11 PM

    I learned this at The Fourth Estate, school newspaper at UWGB in 1979. (actually my editor impressed that idea on me). The administration wasn’t too happy when I reported the cost of going Division I in sports when they didn’t know a reporter was in the Student Senate meeting – rule of thumb, ask first. I’m that far ahead of the NYT?

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