It's been two months since The New York Times made media watchers scrutinizing the practice of quote approval, and now the paper has finally publicly clarified its own policy on the practice: Don't do it. That's the gist of the policy described in public editor Margaret Sullivan's latest column after her earlier call for the paper to take that stand. Sullivan reported on Thursday that executive editor Jill Abramson had finally handed down a clear policy on the practice:
It includes this firm directive: “So starting now, we want to draw a clear line on this. Citing Times policy, reporters should say no if a source demands, as a condition of an interview, that quotes be submitted afterward to the source or a press aide to review, approve or edit.”
The controversy over quote approval has its roots in the pages of The Times after Jeremy Peters wrote a piece in July about how common the practice had become on the political beat.