Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Did I Really Say That?

Should you ever let sources review a quote before you go to print?  Short answer: No. 

Despite the fact that some news orgs, insert shudder here, are letting campaign officials okay quotes in advance, many others are holding firm.  Here's what AP has to say, via Poynter:

“We don’t permit quote approval,” AP spokesman Paul Colford told me by email. “We have declined interviews that have come with this contingency.” That puts the AP in agreement with 58 percent of the people who said in our Twitter poll that they never let sources review quotes. (The poll is totally unscientific, changing as more people vote, and should be taken with the grain of salt that you normally apply to Twitter.) 

In a followup conversation, Colford said that AP reporters do conduct interviews on background and then negotiate to get certain parts on the record. “You’d be a fool to turn those down,” he said. But, he said, an AP reporter would not go along with a source who said, “I want those three sentences you want to use sent over to me to be put through my rinse cycle.”
Rinse cycle, indeed.  Here's more from Jeremy W. Peters from the New York Times, who writes that quote approval results in quotations that "come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative."  bk

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Journatic rhymes with lunatic?

Actually, it doesn't.  But the hyperlocal reporting (using that term loosely) machine, which has admitted to faking bylines and which produces "local stories" offshore (if that isn't oxymoronic, not sure what is...) has admitted to plagiarizing and fabricating quotes in a story on a high school pitcher.

The Chicago Tribune company, which had invested in Journatic and hired it to take over its TribLocal websites while laying off about 20 journalists" killed its relationship with the company. 

More here, via Poynter.  bk

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Who do you trust?

A new Gallup poll shows dwindling confidence in TV news, with trust in print falling as well.  From HuffPost:
The survey showed an interesting political split. Overall, Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to trust TV news (34 percent versus 17 percent.) But self-identified liberals were the most disenchanted of all groups, with just 19 percent expressing confidence in the medium.
Gallup said that it wasn't clear why exactly the numbers were so grim. But it wrote that "Americans' negativity likely reflects the continuation of a broader trend that appeared to enjoy only a brief respite last year. Americans have grown more negative about the media in recent years, as they have about many other U.S. institutions and the direction of the country in general."
What I wonder is this:  If Americans have no confidence in journalists to keep them informed, who can they trust?  Their mothers? Twitter?  Campaign ads?

Could this explain why, for example, journalism students cannot name more than one member of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Scary stuff, especially with a major election coming up.  Seriously gives me chills.  bk