Nashville Scene Reveals That It Shows Stories to Sources

february 11, 2004  05:14 pm
Obsession with silly rules gets in the way of good journalism, writes Willy Stern. His against-the-grain column stands up for an op-ed editor who was pilloried for offering to let the mayor of Austin, Texas, see a draft of an editorial. By the standards applied in that case, editor Bruce Dobie would be fired if he worked anywhere but the Scene, says contributing editor Stern, who is also a media ethicist. "At this weekly paper, prior to publication, we routinely show sources entire drafts of stories," he discloses. "We routinely read quotes to sources before we go to print. We even share drafts with sources' attorneys—including attorneys who have threatened to sue us." Stern presents six reasons for allowing subjects to read stories before publication.