NY Times’ New Policy on quotes

Politico quotes new policy in effect now at the New York Times:

“[S]tarting now, we want to draw a clear line on this. Citing Times policy, reporters should say no if a source demands, as a condition of an interview, that quotes be submitted afterward to the source or a press aide to review, approve or edit,” the new policy states.

The reason given by the NYT is unreasonable pressure on their correspondents to edit quotes after they were give and recorded. This, of course, is unacceptable, however I was under the impression that it was never allowed for sources to change what they actually said, only to check that quotes are accurate and not used out of context. That is, at least, our policy.

NYT considered also another aspect: their own reputation.

“The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources,” it says. “In its most extreme form, it invites meddling by press aides and others that goes far beyond the traditional negotiations between reporter and source over the terms of an interview.”

This is an interesting development and I think a step in the right direction. There has always been some misunderstanding between journalists and sources what the verification process is about, so this makes the situation absolutely clear.

It also puts more pressure and responsibility on journalists.

And yes, it is continuation of the battle over who controls the story – the journalist or someone else.

Full statement by the NYT on the news policy is here.