By Christopher B. Daly
Today’s Times brings the news that David Carr has joined the chorus of journalists denouncing the journalistic practice known as “quote approval” (which consists, essentially, of allowing your interview subjects to clean up their comments before publication or — in extreme cases — to recast what they said altogether).
All I can say is, welcome aboard this bandwagon.
Carr also blogged about the issue today on the paper’s hard-to-find Media Decoder site, inviting comments and quoting the outspoken Buzz Bissinger.
Here’s my comment: In nearly 20 years at the AP and the Washington Post, I must have quoted hundreds of people, maybe thousands. Based on that experience, I can say that almost no one ever asked for quote approval (and no one got it) and nobody ever said I mis-quoted them. I used a tape recorder, but only rarely. I took notes like mad, and I only ran with those quotes I was sure of. This is not rocket science. And it’s not that I was any kind of paragon. Those were just the rules of the game.
The standard at the AP, but the way, was very clear: Every word that appeared inside quote marks must have been said by that person, in that order, with nothing added or left out.
Call me old-school, but that’s exactly what I expect when I read another journalist’s work. If I’m not getting that, I might as well be reading fiction, or P.R.
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