Relações entre jornalistas e fontes: limites, perigos, interesses Um caso recente ocorrido no Austin American Statesman, nos Estados Unidos da América, recoloca uma questão antiga do jornalismo, que tem a ver com a relação entre jornalistas e fontes. Em concreto: é aceitável dar a conhecer às fontes as matérias jornalísticas antes de serem publicadas? Num texto há dias publicado no Nashville Scene, Willy Stern, docente de ética jornalística, procura mostrar que a questão está longe de ser linear. Sumariam-se aqui argumentos para um e outro lado: Argumentos contra: * The perception that the media organization is favoring some sources over others. * The fear that a source will try to influence the media organization to change a story in a way that benefits the source but not the newspaper's readers. * The fear that some people or organizations will use their advance knowledge of what information is about to be published to manipulate events for their own gain. (A quick sidenote: when stories may affect publicly traded firms, I would argue they must be kept under tight wraps.) * The fear that such a policy may be used against the media organization should that organization be sued for libel or some other civil complaint." Argumentos a favor: "1. Every story can be improved by having insiders vet it--whether they come off as good, bad or indifferent in the story. "I've never been disappointed," Dobie says. "Every story gets better." 2. Any disagreement over whether the story is fair is hashed out on the front end, with all interested parties being given an opportunity to have their say. "It's actually the stand-up thing to do," Dobie says. "to let people scream at you on the front end. Sometimes, we learn something in the process that can make the journalism better." 3. Stories are not shown selectively. "It's a judgment call," Dobie explains. "I don't favor one group or another but just use common sense." 4. A non-cooperative source will sometimes be lured out of a foxhole and provide new and helpful information. The fact is, in stories I've written for the Scene, we've shown drafts to the attorneys for people we were investigating. When they see what we are up to, they sometimes agree to cooperate. 5. The stories can and do get better without the news organization necessarily being susceptible to pressures. "We don't cave to pressures, but we try to listen intelligently," Dobie says. "It's all a matter of judgment." 6. In the long run, media organizations get better stories if they have a reputation for getting their facts right, for listening and for being fair. Often times, showing stories, or parts of stories, in advance of publication to sources helps a newspaper in source development over the long haul."