Margaret Sullivan, who just this month was named the Public Editor at the New York Times replacing former KC Star Publisher Art Brisbane, has come out swinging with a in a memo to staffers against allowing sources to approve quotes prior to publication.
This issue came to light recently after it was revealed that Vanity Affair allowed the White House to approve quotes made by President Obama before a story was publication.
“So starting now, we want to draw a clear line on this,” wrote Sullivan. “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.”
While Sullivan seems to present a clear line against quote approval, she then added wiggle room to her proclamation. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers noted on its site:
“Any potential exceptions to this approach should be discussed with a department head or a masthead editor,” reads the last line of the memo.