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REPORT: NBC PAID SURVIVORS OF CRASH FOR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS

November 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Raising new ethical questions about “checkbook journalism,” published reports said on Monday that NBC News paid more than $100,000 for video of the midair collision of two skydiving planes over Wisconsin last weekend. As part of the deal for the film, the survivors of the collision agreed to appear on NBC’s Today and Dateline shows. The Washington Post reported that the footage was taken by the skydivers with cameras mounted in their helmets. Mike Robinson, an instructor, told the Post that NBC has exclusive rights to the footage and that, although they may do print and radio interviews, the skydivers may not be interviewed by any TV outlet other than NBC for two weeks. NBC said that other TV news organizations had bid for the footage. “Our licensing of this footage is standard industry practice,” NBC spokeswoman Ali Zelenko told the Post, “and is the result of a very competitive process with other major broadcast outlets.” However, ABC said that it exited the bidding when it became apparent that it included exclusive interviews. ABC spokesman Jeff Schneider told the newspaper, “Paying for interviews is a clear violation of our standards and ethics. We wanted to bid solely for the rights to the footage.”