“I think the members of the mainstream media would rather see the earth explode first than to reward us with a Pulitzer Prize”
— The National Enquirer’s executive editor Barry Levine describing his newspaper’s chances of getting a Pulitzer nomination for their coverage of John Edwards‘ affair with Rielle Hunter.
This, by the way, is taken from a segment Levine did at NPR’s On the Media (talk about strange bedfellows). Levine also notes the NE has a history of breaking big political stories — Gary Hart’s affair, Rush Limbaugh’s drug use, Jesse Jackson’s love child (Bob Garfield counter-notes they also have a history of lawsuits…touche!), and then goes on to defend checkbook journalism.
We look at the value of paying money for credible information that we can corroborate with other sources, like the police or law enforcement, in attempting to get information that might lead to a conviction of a bad guy. We make no bones about it.
The television networks, and I’m talking about ABC, NBC and CBS, routinely pay for big stories. They may not blatantly give out a big check to an individual, but they will disguise it in a way of paying for video or exclusive pictures, and oftentimes that helps steer these big get interviews their way.
The difference with us is that we will advertise in our paper that we do pay for credible information. But people are not paid unless the information checks out, unless it’s corroborated, unless that information leads to a story in The National Enquirer.
So, something to think about. Also, because it’s only a matter of time before TMZ starts making the same argument.
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