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June 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the acknowledgement by Chris Cuomo, co-anchor of ABC’s 20/20 that he paid $15,000 for Meagan Broussard’s sexting exchanges with New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, members of the faculty at Florida’s Poynter Institute have warned about the growing practice of checkbook journalism. Al Tompkins, who heads the broadcast faculty at the journalism institute, has warned that it harms journalism by creating a market for “juicy” stories. “The juicier the story, the more your story is worth,” Tompkins told Julie Moos, who oversees Poynter’s website. Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics at Poynter, added: “When you pay for information, it changes the nature of the information. … People are more likely to distort it, to make it more valuable or to even deceive you, because they’re trying to give you what they think you want.” Moos herself pointed out that while national television news programs increasingly engage in a bidding war for interviews, newspapers do not. She proposes that television news executives agree to pay only for video and images from people not involved in the stories themselves — like Janis Krums who tweeted the photo of the plane landing in the Hudson River or, most famously, Abraham Zapruder who filmed the assassination of President Kennedy.