National Journal Bans Quote Approval

National Journal Bans Controversial Practice

The National Journal said on Saturday that it would no longer accept quotes from sources that demand to tweak and approve statements before publication.

Last week, The New York Times reported on the growing acceptance of the controversial policy of quote approval, in which political campaigns, and even some officials in various branches of government, tweak and approve quotes before allowing journalists to publish comments. Publications including The Times, The Huffington Post, Reuters and Vanity Fair have admitted to allowing quote approval. A number of publications have spoken out against the practice.

The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reported that the New York Times was reconsidering whether or not to continue to allow sources to pre-approve their quotes. Reuters also said that, by exception of certain circumstances, it finds quote approval "wholly unacceptable."

Politico obtained a copy of the internal memo that National Journal editor-in-chief Ron Fournier sent to staffers on Saturday, in which he told his journalists to abstain from the practice. Fournier wrote:

I'm sure you have been following the dust up over government officials demanding that news organizations permit them to clear their quotes [touched off by a piece last week by NYT's Jeremy W. Peters] ... If a public official wants to use NJ as a platform for his/her point of view, the price of admission is a quote that is on-record, unedited and unadulterated. Proposed exceptions can be discussed case-by-case with your editor. We can't hold leaders accountable while allowing them to pull our punches.

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