NPR : News

Filed Under:

'New York Times' Bans Practice Of Allowing Sources To Approve Quotes

Back in July, The New York Times writer Jeremy Peters lifted the curtain on a common, but surprising, practice in Washington: In exchange for an interview, high-powered politicos demand the right to approve any quotes before they're published.

It's a practice used by the White House as well as the Romney campaign.

"Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president's top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review," Peters wrote about how the process works with the Obama campaign. "The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message."

Well, today, The New York Times is saying no more.

Margaret Sullivan, the paper's public editor, reports:

"The New York Times is drawing 'a clear line' against the practice of news sources being allowed to approve quotations in stories after the fact.

"The practice, known as quote approval, 'puts so much control over the content of journalism in the wrong place,' the executive editor Jill Abramson told me in an interview. 'We need a tighter policy.'"

So, from now on, if a source asks a reporter for quote veto power, they are to say that the paper's policy forbids that.

If you're interested in more, the Times' media columnist David Carr spoke to Morning Edition about the practice.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.