Never Show and Print

via 1.bp.blogspot.com/

via 1.bp.blogspot.com

I have been asked by many people and I’ve always said no. I’ve been saying no since college, when I was told about sources who may want to read stories before they were printed.

I remember being surprised when people would ask me, but, now, it’s almost a weekly occurrence. I don’t mind it really. It’s funny, though. When people tell me that other reporters from other papers have let them, I just laugh and give them my two cents. I tell them my editors wouldn’t allow it and it’s against my own code of ethics. If they can live with it, we keep talking, if not, they are a bit more reserved.

I completely understand it, but I have to stick to my guns here.

I mean, I’m sure people get upset at me, but it’s never going to change.

You can call it whatever you want, but people are going to have to trust me, as many people do with many other reporters. Of course, there are exceptions, but I’ve never seen, or been a part of one. I think that would get too “messy” because I’d have to get an editor involved and I wouldn’t want to seem like I’m “weak” or “unqualified” for the job.

I just don’t think it’s acceptable for any reporter to do, myself included. I can’t see myself ever doing it.

I would worry about sources wanting to change quotes or passages in my story. It’s like you are opening the door for that person to change what you did and what they said. It’s a recipe for trouble.

I also wouldn’t want the person to write the story for me. Letting them see or read the story invites them to make their own editorial edits. Since it’s my byline on the line, I wouldn’t even want to let that thought cross anyone’s mind.

One thing I don’t have a problem with is asking a source questions for fact-checking. I highly encourage that. If you aren’t sure about something ask. It’s usually quick and really easy to do. It’ll save you a lot of stress and hassle in the end.

When I’m talking about finances or science topics, I know I’m not an expert. I know that I’m going to need to sure up somethings that I have in my story. But asking questions and having someone read/edit a story are two very different things.

I don’t need to have a source tell me that a story is accurate.

Jonathan

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