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