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Jeff Zucker on Checkbook Journalism: There’s A Way

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Jeff Zucker in the Financial Times View from the Top video segment dances around the “pay for Paris” question.

FT: Is that kind of “chequebook journalism” creeping in? And is that a bad thing?

MR ZUCKER: Well, look, I think the key thing anytime you do an interview with anybody, is that you disclose what you’re doing.

(And that makes it all okay? He makes it sound so easy.)


FT: So if you say we paid $1m for this interview, that’s okay?

MR ZUCKER: Well, I don’t know that it’s okay. But certainly–disclosure goes a long way towards making people understand what has transpired. Now that’s not to say that I think that we should be paying for interviews, per se. I think that if somebody has something to say, hopefully, there’s a way to do it without any chequebook journalism. I think, historically, there have been many instances where there have been fees paid for services, videos, photographs–and the people have gotten around this, including the most famous interviewers on American television. So -

Did Zucker just gave NBC News the green light to flash the greenbacks?

And as an added feature: Long/Short

FT: And now, Mr. Zucker, we’ll play long/short. Are you ready?

MR ZUCKER: Ready to go.

FT: The evening news?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: Daily newspapers?

MR ZUCKER: Short.

FT: Rupert Murdoch?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: Yahoo?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: DVDs?

MR ZUCKER: Longish.

FT: Reality television?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: Hollywood?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: A cure for cancer?

MR ZUCKER: Long.

FT: Fred Thompson?

MR ZUCKER: [laughs] I like Fred. [laughs] No comment.

FT: Paris Hilton?

MR ZUCKER: No comment.

FT: Thank you very much.

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