More of a cardinal guideline

Most newspapers do not show sources a story prior to publication. I’ve never heard of papers doing it regularly. It’s almost a cardinal rule of journalism. Apparently it’s less a rule than a guideline.

Willy Stern, who teaches journalism courses at Vanderbilt and Fisk universities, lists six reasons in a column in Nashville Scene why the newspaper routinely show articles before publication. Romenesko mentioned it today.

The Romenesko item was posted late in the day, so it may take a day or two for journalists to react to it. I don’t recall ever showing a story before publication. I’ve read quotes back, I’ve read explanations, I’ve made a lot of calls back to get something clarified, which others have told me they never do either. I did it because I wanted the story to be accurate and fair.

I’ve called people and sources after the paper was printed but before they had received their copy to let them know there was a mistake or some other goof-up. I wanted them to hear it from me first.

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