NBC News has agreed to salary the household of Reeva Steenkamp, the southern African woman eliminated by Olympic jogger Oscar Pistorius, for its collaboration in a series of interviews. Here's a look at a few other time NBC News pulled out its checkbook. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
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NBC News has actually agreed to pay the family members of Reeva Steenkamp, the southern African woman eliminated by Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, because that its teamwork in a series of interviews.

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The transaction is the latest circumstances of pay-to-play, or “checkbook journalism,” by NBC, which has actually lined increase a collection of other newsworthy people by offering, in part cases, more than $100,000 for their cooperation.

The exercise of paying sources is routine among European and American tabloid journalists but is considered ethically questionable by mainstream organizations, which commonly shun it. Doubters say together payments may induce a news resource to dramatize or distort one account. It also can develop a conflict of interest that can introduce bias into the reporting of a story by placing an otherwise independent news organization into a financial partnership v a source.

NBC’s “Today” program featured an interview through June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, top top Tuesday, billing it together “exclusive.”Reeva Steenkamp was shot to death by Pistorius, she boyfriend, in his residence in south Africa early last year.

Pistorius achieved global fame by contending in the 2012 Olympics 400-meter sprint with prosthetic legs, i beg your pardon earned him the nickname “the blade Runner.” He has said he shot Steenkamp after ~ mistaking her for a burglar. He has been charged v murder through prosecutors; his trial started Monday in Pretoria, southern Africa.


NBC News spokeswoman Ali Zelenko claimed Tuesday that the brother unit of Peacock Productions, one NBC News subsidiary, paid “a very modest license fee” to the Steenkamp family members for its cooperation. The fee, i beg your pardon she decreased to disclose, will certainly cover “materials” that will certainly be supplied in 3 documentaries the Peacock is creating “for various outside clients,” she said.

She declined to determine the clients and had no discuss how “Today’s” interview through June Steenkamp came about.

Since critical year, NBC has actually aired a collection of to exclude, interviews by offering cash payments and other inducements to civilization who have suddenly end up being newsworthy.

For example, the network signed a six-figure attend to teenage California kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson and also her father, Brett, last fall. NBC featured the Andersons on “Today,” on “NBC Nightly News through Brian Williams” and also in a highly sympathetic “Dateline” report, and also said it would produce long-form programming about the Andersons’ ordeal with Peacock Productions.

In November, NBC’s news department agreed to salary nine skies divers and two pilots who survived a spectacular midair accident $100,000 for appearances top top the “Today” show and also stories top top “NBC Nightly News” and also “Dateline.”

NBC News shows up to have taken a more aggressive strategy to securing the best “gets” under its new president, Deborah Turness, that joined the network in august from ITV News, Britain’s leading commercial TV network.

NBC states it pays sources only to license house video, photographs and also other an individual material and also does not pay because that interviews. However, among the skydivers associated in the accident last fall, Mike Robinson, claimed at the time that the group’s covenant with NBC provided the network exclusivity ~ above TV interviews for a two-week period.


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Graphic: What “Blade Runner” Olympian says taken place the night the shot his girlfriend

The kinds are just vaguely described to viewers and sometimes not disclosed in ~ all. When the skydivers appeared on “Today,” the routine said NBC News had “licensed” your footage “exclusively,” however it didn’t point out any specific financial arrangements.

Peacock’s brother unit is regulated by Steve Anderson, who has produced three documentaries top top the Pistorius situation for the BBC, TLC and Britain’s Channel 5. The last documentary, licensed has been granted “Why walk Oscar Pistorius kill Our Daughter?,” featured a “world exclusive” interview v Steenkamp’s parents. Anderson joined NBC in September.

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Network bookers generally compete versus each other for interviews that can help boost ratings. In NBC’s case, the network is under intense push to overtake “Good Morning America,” the ABC program that finished “Today’s” lengthy reign as the top-rated morning news program, the most rewarding period because that network news divisions. The rivalry has actually led to bidding wars for remarkable interview subjects, although abc News said it has actually banned the practice of paying for interviews.