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New York Times siger nej til citattjek

Det forrykker magtbalancen mellem kilder og journalister, når kilder systematisk forlanger at få citater til godkendelse. "Nu trækker vi en streg i sandet", lyder det fra New York Times.

Det forrykker magtbalancen mellem kilder og journalister, når kilder systematisk forlanger at få citater til godkendelse. "Nu trækker vi en streg i sandet", lyder det fra New York Times.Journalisterne redigerer avisen. Ikke kilderne. En af USAs mest ansete aviser The New York Times vil ikke længere sende citater til kilder, så de kan se, hvad de bliver citeret for. Citatgodkendelse "placerer nemlig for meget af magten over journalistikkens indhold det forkerte sted."
Det skriver Poynter.org

De nye regler betyder, at journalisterne skal sige nej, hvis kilder stiller det som et krav for et interview, at de kan se, godkende eller redigere deres citater. Hvis en journalist undtagelsesvis på har behov for at tjekke citater med en kilde, skal ifølge de nye regler godkendes af en chef.

Godkendelse af citater blev diskuteret flittigt i USA over sommeren. Huffington Post, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair og Reuters tillader citatgodkendelse, mens Associated Press ikke gør.

Her hjemme har Politiken netop vedtaget nye regler for citatgodkendelse, der betyder, at journalisterne – når det er praktisk muligt – bør tilbyde kilder at få oplyst, hvad de citeres for, og i hvilken sammenhæng det indgår i artiklen.

»Faktuelle fejl og betydende misforståelser skal rettes. Der er ikke tale om godkendelse af citater, og kilder har ingen indflydelse på artiklens indhold og vinkling. Det er Politikens ansvar,« står der i retningslinjerne.

Blandt læserne på Poynter.org siger 63 procent, at de aldrig lader kilder se deres citater.

Her er memo'et til New York Times' medarbejdere

GUIDELINES ON ‘QUOTE APPROVAL'

Despite our reporters' best efforts, we fear that demands for after-the-fact "quote approval" by sources and their press aides have gone too far. The practice risks giving readers a mistaken impression that we are ceding too much control over a story to our sources. In its most extreme forms, it invites meddling by press aides and others that goes far beyond the traditional negotiations between reporter and source over the terms of an interview.

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.

We understand that talking to sources on background – not for attribution – is often valuable to reporting, and unavoidable. Negotiation over the terms of using quotations, whenever feasible, should be done as part of the same interview – with an "on the record" coda, or with an agreement at the end of the conversation to put some parts on the record.

In some cases, a reporter or editor may decide later, after a background interview has taken place, that we want to push for additional on-the-record quotes. In that situation, where the initiative is ours, this is acceptable. Again, quotes should not be submitted to press aides for approval or edited after the fact.

We realize that at times this approach will make our push for on-the-record quotes even more of a challenge. But in the long run, we think resetting the bar, and making clear that we will not agree to put after-the-fact quote-approval in the hands of press aides, will help in that effort.

We know our reporters face ever-growing obstacles in Washington, on Wall Street and elsewhere. We want to strengthen their hand in pushing back against the quote-approval process, which all of us dislike. Being able to cite a clear Times policy should aid their efforts and insulate them from some of the pressure they face.

Any potential exceptions to this approach should be discussed with a department head or a masthead editor.

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