Harvard Crimson Ends Policy Allowing School Officials to Review Quotes Prior to Publication

The Harvard Crimson is no longer allowing Harvard University officials to review or change their quotes prior to publication.  As Romenesko shared yesterday, the Crimson is reversing this longstanding practice to fight a culture of decreasing candor and availability among Harvard staff sources.

As Crimson president (editor-in-chief) Ben Samuels wrote in a memo to staff: “Some of Harvard’s highest officials– including the president of the university, the provost, and the deans of the college and of the faculty of arts and sciences– have agreed to interviews with the Crimson only on the condition that their quotes not be printed without their approval.  As a result, their quotes have become less candid, less telling, and less meaningful to our coverage.  At the same time, sources have more and more frequently agreed to communicate only by email rather than in person or by phone, or have asked that their names not be used along with their comments.”

In a letter to readers, Samuels and managing editor Julie Zauzmer confirmed the new Crimson policy restricts “reporters from agreeing to interviews on the condition of quote review without the express prior permission of the president or the managing editor.”

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