The Big No-No: Showing Drafts to Sources (Education Coverage)

So it turns out that the big Denver dropout series a couple weeks back was in part the product of lots of cooperation and draft-sharing between Denver Public Schools and the Rocky Mountain News -- cooperation that is typically frowned upon by real journalist-types.

The Denver series wasn't easy on the Denver schools. And the paper made no secret of the cooperation. Still, Journalism god Jim Romanesko for one isn't sure it's kosher: Rocky uses "almost unheard of" tactic for graduation series.

However, it occurs to me that sharing a draft of a story with a source may be the journalistic equivalent of "teaching to the test"-- an almost instinctively-, universally-reviled no-no -- even though it might not be such a bad thing.

Me, I'm with the heathens on this one. It's necessary, OK, and even good to share, as long as you keep control of what you're saying. You get the facts straight, which isn't always easy. You give the subject of the story a real chance to respond, not the usual last-minute call we've all made.

Not that I've ever done it, of course.


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