Monday, November 28, 2011

We Don't Pay--Technically

In his New York Times article, Paying for News? It’s Nothing New, Jeremy W. Peters shattered my belief that major news outlets don’t pay for interviews.

In the most technical sense, major news outlets don’t. But they provide various types of expense reimbursements in exchange for an interview. As Peters notes:

The payment is always for something else, tangible or intangible, like one’s time or the rights to memorabilia.

So what’s the difference between paying for a picture or paying for the interview? The money ends up in the interviewees hands.

Peters also notes that this practice has existed in one form or another for over a century—citing an example of his own paper paying a survivor of the Titanic.

Maybe the real issue is not paying for interviews but the guideline of not paying for interviews isn’t realistic. Major news outlets can’t seem to follow the intent of their own guidelines, even if they have met the guideline in its most technical sense.

Read Peters’ analysis at

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