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

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