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Political Reporters Give Campaigns Final Cut

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by lcjjdnh, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Member

    I can see the arguments on both sides of this debate:


  2. JPsT

    JPsT Member

    Interesting story.

    From the subject of this thread, I thought it was going to be reporters allowing campaigns to use their software license of the Final Cut video editing software. It also would've been an interesting story, but in different ways.
  3. SFIND

    SFIND Active Member

    If this story was about a school or team's SID or PR office demanding that reporters send in collected quotations to their office, and then the SID's office emails back with edited quotes they allow to be used, this board would be in an uproar.
  4. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

  5. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    We can't help it if news reporters have lower standards. :)
  6. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    How can you see the arguments for letting people change the things they've already said?
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member


    It's despicable practice. That's the word I choose. Despicable.

    Wouldn't put up with it for a second. Wouldn't allow my reporters to. Would ask Obama or anyone at every press gathering why it's a good idea until it stopped. And it would, eventually.
  8. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Despicable is the perfect word. I don't see how credible news organizations would accept these terms. I'm glad that the NYT shined a light on the practice. I hope from hear on that they warn us of any stories that have been redacted so I won't bother reading them.

    I would go farther but I don't want to go against the no politics discussion ban on SJ.
  9. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Member

    Here's Alma's post after being reviewed by political staffers:

    It's a fantastic practice. That's the word I choose. Fantastic.

    Wouldn't question it for a second. Wouldn't allow my reporters to. Would praise Obama or anyone at every press gathering for it until other campaigns started using it, too. And they would, eventually.
  10. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I prefer BS, myself, but despicable works, too.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Or the Romney campaign.
  12. lcjjdnh

    lcjjdnh Member

    First, I could see doing this in, say, a explanatory science piece where you want to make sure you got the quote correct. Have people ever heard themselves talk? I have a lot of sympathy for people getting interviewed--even if they have their talking points ginned up in advance, it's often difficult to clearly and concisely express yourself orally. If cleaning up quotes allows for more accurate information more clearly conveyed to the reader, one could argue it's appropriate. That said, I'd probably lean toward this being far enough away from that sort of checking to make in inappropriate.

    Second, I could see arguing for this in a utilitarian sense that it will lead to a greater amount of information reaching the public. It's not as though these are off-the-cuff remarks made in moments of weakness that reporters are allowing these advisers to look over out of sympathy--they're remarks made with the background knowledge these rules are in place. These advisers might not speak at all if not allowed these concessions. Could very well just be bullshit to get these conditions, but I would have to assume these news organizations put up at least a little bit of fight and learned the politicos weren't backing down.

    Third, there is arguably value in decreasing anonymity at the cost of these rules. If sources are more willing to go on the record because they know they can self-edit their remarks, journalists are decreasing one form of "deception"--for example, "person familiar with X's thinking" being person X himself--at the cost of another. It's a tradeoff.

    I'm not saying it's right (although it might be). I'm just saying an argument can be made. Like most things, it's not as black and white as it might first appear.
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