The National Journal joins a (small and slowly growing) list of news organizations that are publicly disowning the practice of “quote approval” — which happens when journalists allow the people they interview to screen and approve their own quotes before those quotes appear in print or online.
Where’s everyone else?
Quote approval has become accepted in Washington and on the campaign trail, with politicians and candidates often refusing to grant interviews unless they have final say over how their quotations appear in print. The New York Times examined the issue in an article last week, drawing attention to a part of news gathering that journalists had long complained about but felt pressured into accepting.
Quote approval is wrong. Don’t read quotes that have been approved!
2 responses to ““Quote approval” fallout”
I think an interesting question is how the public will know if a quote has or hasn’t been “approved”. I’ve never seen a publication disclose if they use quote approval. Do you think quote approval is something new or something that has been under the surface for a while with some publications?
Based on these disclosures, it seems to have been around for at least a little while. But when I was working full-time as a reporter (before I started teaching in 1999), I had never heard of it at either the AP or the Washington Post. I believe it would have been considered a fire-able offense.
Nowadays, I think transparency would be a good, partial remedy. But I suspect that most reporters would be ashamed to admit that they gave their sources quote approval.