UT official who reviewed Post story didn’t allow that when she was a reporter

Tara Doolittle, one of the University of Texas press officers who recently reviewed a Washington Post story prior to publication, is a former reporter for The Austin American-Statesman. So did she ever allow sources to do what she did?

“The answer has always been no, whether I was the reporter or the editor,” Doolittle said, noting that she spent 10 years as an editor.

Doolittle, who became director of media outreach for UT in November, was a reporter when I worked at the Statesman.

Gary Susswein, director of media relations at UT, went through de Vise’s article “with a heavy red pen,” according to the Texas Observer. He, too, worked at the Statesman, serving for some time as metro editor. (He’s on vacation this week.)

Doolittle said Post reporter Daniel de Vise told UT media representatives that sharing his story drafts was part of his normal process, and his editors knew about it. The Post has since tightened its policy on allowing sources to review stories, saying editors will grant permission to do so “extremely rarely.”

Aside from saying de Vise’s offer was unusual, Doolittle declined to comment on another reporter’s methods. Given the opportunity to review a story again, she’d take it. “I’m not a reporter anymore.”

RelatedWashington Post reporter sent drafts to sources (Texas Observer) | What are the arguments for, against sending stories to sources before publication? (Poynter)

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  • http://www.WhoNeedsNewspapers.org Paul Steinle

    This debate seems to be hinged on the presumption that asking a subject to review a story for accuracy is tantamount to relinquishing control over the story. That need not be the case. 

    It’s a false dichotomy. If we’re going to perpetuate this discussion, make it an honest one.If the story started with information from a source, there’s no harm in having that source check the results. That does NOT mean allowing a source to change quotes you have on the record. But overall the goal of a reporter is accuracy, not one-ups-manship. Reporting’s goal is to provide the best, most accurate information. If giving the source a look at your reporting supports the quest for accuracy then it’s a valid practice. And it does not require giving up ethical stewardship of the story.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R52YYUER4K6DFDOZDXGDDL3UVI spzos1

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R52YYUER4K6DFDOZDXGDDL3UVI spzos1