National Journal, McClatchy ban quote approval

The New York Times | McClatchy | On the Media | San Francisco Chronicle

National Journal Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier tells reporters they can't submit quotes to sources for editing, a practice that more politicians are insisting on.


If a public official wants to use NJ as a platform for his/her point of view, the price of admission is a quote that is on-record, unedited and unadulterated.

McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher also bans the practice:


As advocates of the First Amendment, we cannot be intimidated into letting the government control our work. When The New York Times agreed with Bush Administration officials to delay publication of its story of illegal wiretaps of Americans until after the 2004 election, it did the nation a great disservice. Acceding to the Obama administration’s efforts to censor our work to have it more in line with their political spin is another disservice to America.

"On the Media" tackled this icky bit of sausage-making over the weekend. "I do it probably more regularly than I should," New York Times Magazine reporter Mark Leibovich told the show. "I would love there to be some kind of blanket policy that The New York Times puts in place that I could hide behind."

John Diaz writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that readers would benefit from greater transparency:

At the very least, readers need to know when the quotes they see have been reviewed - and tweaked, enhanced or neutered - by a political campaign. Anything less is a breach of trust with readers who assume that the publication is solely responsible for its content.

Related: Politico’s Harris: ‘Quote doctoring does bother me’ | AP doesn’t let sources approve quotes beforehand | What’s the deal with quote approval?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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