Citing ‘meddling’ press aides, New York Times bans quote approval

The paper will no longer allow sources and PR professionals to review quotes before they’re published, according to a memo from the Times’ executive editor.

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In a memo to staff on Thursday, Executor Editor Jill Abramson said the Times is drawing “a clear line on this.” If a source agrees to an interview under the condition that he or she, or a press aide, can approve the quotes, reporters are to say no.

“Despite our reporters’ best efforts, we fear that demands for after-the-fact ‘quote approval’ by sources and their press aides have gone too far. The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources. In its most extreme forms, 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.”

Last May, the Times broke the story about the increasing prevalence of reporters (including its own) practicing quote-for-approval journalism, primarily on the campaign trail. This week, however, Times media columnist David Carr weighed in on business sources taking part in this practice.

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