Friday, July 29, 2011

Good for ABC

This shouldn't be a cause for celebration--or news. Nevertheless, it's good to know that one network is doing the right thing.

ABC Bans Paying News Subjects
ABC News has quietly decided to get out of the business of paying news subjects in connection with exclusive interviews. With no public announcement or fanfare, the news division's president, Ben Sherwood, has effectively taken ABC out of what had become a competitive bidding war for hot bookings. After taking a public-relations hit in several high-profile cases, ABC will no longer be buying photos or video as a way of getting a news subject to cooperate-a process that had become a fig leaf for purchasing interviews. When asked for comment, spokesman Jeffrey Schneider confirmed the new policy, saying: "We can book just about anyone based on the strength of our journalism, the excellence of our anchors, correspondents, and producers, and the size of our audience. These licensing deals had become a crutch, and an unnecessary one." The new approach is not an absolute ban, but network sources say it would take an extraordinary circumstance to allow a licensing fee-perhaps once every couple of years-that would require approval at the highest levels. ABC's unilateral disarmament could prompt the other networks to drop out of the pay-to-play arms race as well. Or they could continue to pay big bucks for licensing fees with one less competitor to worry about. "Will we lose a booking here and there? Sure," said Schneider. "Are those lost bookings equal to the credibility of ABC News? Not in any way, shape, or form."
The Daily Beast