Daily newspapers such as The Washington Post and the New York Times say they do not pay people for news tips or interviews. TV networks say much the same thing, although they often devise ways to compensate high-profile news subjects anyway.
The typical maneuver is to pay sources for the right to air personal photographs or home videos. Since the payments technically aren’t for interviews, the networks say this doesn’t constitute an ethical breach.
ABC News and NBC News acknowledged that they paid the families of three rescued Chilean miners who were featured in “exclusive” reports on “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show last month. In both cases, network correspondents told viewers that home videos included in the reports were “licensed” by the networks, a vague disclosure that revealed little about the nature of the agreements. NBC News declined to comment.