City Desk

Post Cagey on Quote-Approval Policy

Monday's New York Times story about papers like the Times and the Washington Post giving presidential campaigns veto power over their quotes is getting a reaction. The Times is reviewing its policy, and the Washington Examiner's editorial board says it'll never succumb to the temptation, although it's not clear who asked them.

The Post, meanwhile, has been silent on the matter, so I tried to figure out it if it was going to continue letting political operatives edit the paper. It turns out the Post's National desk can be as opaque as the campaigns it covers.

I asked Post National editor Kevin Merida whether the paper was planning to change its policies on allowing campaign sources to edit or veto quotes before publication. Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti responded with a statement from Merida that didn't say much:

Our political staff aggressively pursues on-the-record information and quotations in reporting on the campaigns. In dealing with sources, we trust our reporters to make decisions that uphold the Post's high journalistic standards and are in the best interests of our readers.

I've lost my Post-to-English decoder ring, so I asked Coratti to clarify what Merida meant. Was the Times story right about the Post, and if it was, will its policy change?

"I don’t believe Kevin’s comment was in direct response to anything in the story," Coratti wrote back, "but rather meant to give you a sense of how he sees the matter."

If that was Merida's intent, he failed. For example, what's with the hands-washing part about trusting reporters to make their own decisions? Maybe if I agree to give the paper quote approval, I can get some real answers.

There's also news elsewhere up and down the chain of command at the Post, although nothing as scandalous as quote approval.

Research vice president Laura Evans is leaving for Dow Jones,  meaning the paper has lost its fourth executive of the year—and it's only July! According to a memo in the paper's Local section, a candidate within the paper is in the lead to take over the D.C. schools beat from Bill Turque, who is going to start covering presidential campaigns.

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  • Kevin

    "...and the Washington Examiner's editorial board says it'll never succumb to the temptation, although it's not clear who asked them."

    Ha!

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