Thursday, 17 March 2016

Journalists don’t need people’s consent to use quotes

A reader complained to one of our journalism course students that she had quoted him without his consent.
I didn’t think she had done anything wrong. If someone speaks to a journalist, they should expect to be quoted. It’s the same as someone engaging a plumber. They expect him to fix their pipes. He doesn’t need to ask for their permission.

If someone agrees to speak to a journalist, the onus is on them to say they don’t want to be quoted or named. If the journalist has properly introduced themselves and explained what the interview is about, they don’t need consent.
Readers sometimes complain because they regret speaking to a journalist when they see their quotes in print. They try to blame the journalist, when what they’re really saying is: ‘I wish I’d kept my mouth shut.’

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