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February 19, 2004


Journalism, Reality, and Quotes

We were wondering about this a while ago, and it looks like we finally got our answer: The Washington Post has changed its policy about correcting the grammar of the people it quotes. It won't be done anymore.

In the same policy statement, they also clarified their position on some journalistic phrases that are often taken to have the same meaning, but actually are different in subtle, but important, ways:

  • Off the record: The information is not to be used in the paper in any way, not even if it is confirmed elsewhere. "We recommend that reporters not get into those kinds of conversations," Downie stressed.
  • Not for attribution or on background: The information can be used, with the source being identified only through a description, such as "a White House source" or "FBI official."
  • Deep background: The information is useable in reporting, but not sourced to a specific person. "Deep Throat was the classic deep background source," Downie said.

categories: Media
posted by adm at 3:21 PM | #