ABC ends checkbook journalism, will no longer pay for interviews

The Daily Beast | Poynter
ABC is ending a practice that “20/20″ co-anchor Chris Cuomo just last month called “the state of play.” The network will no longer pay licensing fees to sources involved in stories. “It was starting to distract from important work,” said Jeffrey Schneider, Senior Vice President, Communications, ABC News. ABC has been answering questions about this issue since it was revealed the network paid Casey Anthony $200,000 in 2008. More recently, they paid Meagan Broussard for a photo she exchanged with former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. And they’ve had to make clear they did not pay for interviews with Jaycee Dugard or Nafissatou Diallo, whose conversation with Robin Roberts started airing Monday morning.

“We’ve shown over a very long time, and as recently as this weekend, the gets are gettable and the interviews are achievable through good journalism and good work,” Schneider said by phone Monday afternoon.

“These licensing deals had become a crutch, and an unnecessary one,” Schneider told Howard Kurtz.

Kurtz reports that a broad review of practices, including this one, “found … that such payments could be approved at a relatively low level with little oversight, saddling the network with the fallout.”

According to Kurtz, Ben Sherwood, the new president of ABC News, “concluded that the cash-register approach to journalism was starting to tarnish the network’s credibility, even though the practice was relatively infrequent.”

If competition between ABC and NBC was partly responsible for the payments, as The New York Times has reported, perhaps NBC will now follow ABC’s lead.

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  • http://twitter.com/FlaFan FlaFan

    It could be too little, too late for ABC. Ask the folks who worked for NBC’s “Dateline” during the early 1990s, after the General Motors truck story: Once you lose credibility, it’s very difficult to get it back.

  • Ferntuckian

    I bet the National Enquirer never guessed they’d have so much competition and that it would come from mainstream media.

  • Ferntuckian

    “was starting to tarnish the network’s credibility” Starting?!? We’re so far down that road with the entire US news industry that our car is due for its regular service.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also a sin that people on e-bay are selling Casey Anthony garbage and getting away with it. E-bay has a link for you to report sellers who are profiting off of a tragedy,upon reporting a couple of sellers who were doing this,nothing was done….so I say it’s all about greed,because E-bay makes a profit off of the sellers,I will no longer be selling anything on this greedy auction site! No one should be able to profit from a murder. I understand a movie will be made about Drew Peterson, another nut case! I for one refuse to watch that,after all this idiot is still awaiting trial.

  • Rosanne Sutherland

    It makes me sad and very angry that the Media would pay Casey Anthony a dime to here her lies.
    She will make a joke out of the Media,the same way she played the police.
    WHY should she benifit,while little Caylee is DEAD,
    Anyone,including Cindy and George Anthony making money off the horrible way Caylee died,tells me they have no morals,and anyone who pays them has no morals.IT WAS A BABY WHO COULD NOT DEFEND HERSELF.why would you pat someone on the back for that. SHE was a gift from GOD,how sad HE must be,Look how lighting hit the tree where Caylee died. IF I was the Media,or the Anthonys and Caseys lawyers,I would take heed.
    GOD WILL HAVE THE LAST WORD.PLEASE BE GOOD JOURNALISTS,and do what is right and moral.
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
    CANADA

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Bell/1650513246 Jim Bell

    ***According to Kurtz, Ben Sherwood, the new president of ABC News, “concluded that the cash-register approach to journalism was starting to tarnish the network’s credibility, even though the practice was relatively infrequent.”**
     
    “Relatively infrequent”. This reminds me of the rich society matron who was asked by a male guest if she would commit adultery with him for 20 thousand dollars. Thinking he was just joking, she laughed and said sure — why not? 
     
    Her guest then asked if she would do it for a hundred dollars, whereupon she responded angrily “just a minute now, what do you think I am? 
     
    He said “we’ve established what you are lady. We’re haggling now.”
     
    So whether ABC paid for news once or a hundred times, it was still a news whore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Freda-Boyce/100002268628283 Freda Boyce

    Don’t get to excited  I am sure  they have other loop holes  they will be  paying through such  as payment in others names  to bank accounts. Remember Howard K. Stern had his deposited in  an account in his mothers name.

  • http://twitter.com/Rebecca1nAZ Rebecca Fountain

    Myself I wish to stay positve, and hope this is the begining to the end of such practices ?!?!!! Now I have been writing to US State Represenitives fro we must go state by state to legislate Caylees Law’s, then ask states that don’t have  SON OF SAM laws so to say, to pass that as wel…then the next BIG fightn will be to make them both federal laws as well. No one should be able to ride the coat tails of a DEAD CHILD& OR VICTIM into beig a celebrity and becomeing a cash cow !!! Caylee’s short brief life is worth WAY MORE THAN THAT…we as part of society can change this. It will take work, and it can be done, and it MUST be done…for any future situations like this…

  • http://twitter.com/Rebecca1nAZ Rebecca Fountain

    AMERICA still does have DIGNITY…KUDDO’S to ABC I’ll b a LOYAL VIEWIER THANK-YOU!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Rebecca1nAZ Rebecca Fountain

    America still does have DIGNITY !!! KUDDO’S 2 ABC…I’ll be a loyal viewer from now !!! THANK-YOU!!! 

  • http://twitter.com/Rebecca1nAZ Rebecca Fountain

    America still does have DIGNITY !!! KUDDO’S 2 ABC…I’ll be a loyal viewer from now !!! THANK-YOU!!! 

  • Anonymous

    Please, the only reason ABC is making this statement now is because of the public’s anger.  The widespread publicity this travesty of a trial received has brought ABC’s actions to the forefront.  What were they thinking back in 2008?  Who made the decision to give $200,000 to aid in the defense of a woman accused of murdering her child?  ABC should be ashamed of itself.  But, I doubt they are.  They are probably going to find some other way of getting over on people!  I wouldn’t trust ABC or NBC anymore than I trust a word out of Casey Anthony & Co’s mouths.

  • Anonymous

    Please, the only reason ABC is making this statement now is because of the public’s anger.  The widespread publicity this travesty of a trial received has brought ABC’s actions to the forefront.  What were they thinking back in 2008?  Who made the decision to give $200,000 to aid in the defense of a woman accused of murdering her child?  ABC should be ashamed of itself.  But, I doubt they are.  They are probably going to find some other way of getting over on people!  I wouldn’t trust ABC or NBC anymore than I trust a word out of Casey Anthony & Co’s mouths.

  • Anonymous

    You say you will not pay for interviews,  this is old news as we all know that you in fact do pay and pay big for pictures and videos.

  • Anonymous

    You should be ashamed of yourselves for giving Casey Anthony $200,000 and Roy Kronk $15,000 for a picture of a snake when that $15,000 could have went to St. Judes Hospital. ALso, you are not fooling anyone with this as we all heard about your “back door” payments to these freaks for their stories ….. we do not want to hear about Casey Anthony and you also paid for a trip to Disney World for a Mz Jennifer Ford and her 20 family members all because she was on a jury that let a murderer go free ….. Yeah ABC you have been wineing and dining the ScumAnthonys for years now starting with your little gift of a vacation at the Ritz Carlton for 4 days and top dollar meals …. Yeah, let’s reward the scammers (Cindy and George Anthony) and the murderers and her lying defense team. Why don’t you ask Cheney Mason about his remarks about Casey back in 2008 when he put it on the record that casey WAS GUILTY …. well like they say money talks and BS walks …. Good Day ABC …. you are still lying to us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amie.steffen Amie Steffen

    Paying sources: The difference between journalism and tabloids.