pay to play journalism – all of them?

broken window theoryLike the National Enquirer (who oddly enough just filed for bankruptcy), now everyone is willing to pay for stories. OK, technically it sounds like they pay the interviewee for use of images and video an exorbitant amount to avoid (theoretically) crossing that journalistic line. From the story on the Washington Post on Checkbook Journalism.

“thanks to heightened competition for the next big “get,” journalism’s Thou-Shalt-Not-Pay commandment has lately been taking a beating. News and gossip sites that paid for information have broken some of the biggest and most sensational recent stories. TV news divisions have joined in, spurring an arms race to buy big stories.”

and

CNN spokeswoman Edie Emery insisted, however, “CNN does not pay for interviews or sources. Yes, CNN did pay a licensing fee for exclusive rights to Schuringa’s cellphone image. Payment for the exclusive license of the image was never a condition of the guest interview.” In fact, CNN did interview Schuringa.

and

An ABC News spokesman, Jeffrey Schneider, also said the fees were not tied to any promises of an interview. “We compensate a rights-holder for video or pictures that they own in the same way that The Washington Post would pay a photographer for his pictures,” Schneider said.

So who can you trust? IMHO whether paid or based on some agenda, you should always be skeptical of the media regardless of the SPJ code of ethics.

And in disclosure, the WP has agreed to pay me $100,000 to run this story on my blog. OK, actually they are paying me for RIGHTS to use my cc licensed photo top right at some future date. Yup, the photo of broken stuff.

It’s true.

OK, it’s all true except that last part. But if you know someone at the WP, will you send them my address so they can mail a check?