This past September, The New York Times said it would no longer permit the increasingly common journalistic practice called “quote approval.” The practice gives news sources greater control over what quotes from interviews can be used in an article.
Times reporter Jeremy Peters called attention to quote approval in a story he wrote on how the Obama and Romney campaigns exercised control over reporters by rarely agreeing to on-the-record interviews. Instead, campaign officials agreed to speak “on background” as long as they were later allowed to approve or disapprove which quotes could be used on the record.
Although The New York Times enjoys considerable clout in the journalism world, it’s unclear whether, or how many, other news outlets will follow the Times’ lead in banning quote approval.
However, this remains clear:
- Most reporters will not permit you to review, let alone approve, what they write, including the quotes they use. The reasons are many, and include time constraints and a desire for journalistic independence.
- Some reporters (especially trade press reporters, who tend to be advocates for the industries they cover) will ask or allow you to review their articles for accuracy.
- It never hurts to offer. After an interview, say something like the following: “I know we covered a lot of ground in the interview in a relatively short period of time. I hope I answered your questions clearly. If you’d like me to review the article for accuracy, I’ll be happy to do it.”