David Brauer of MinnPost.com reports that Twin Cities Business editorDale Kurschner let convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters — the subject of its latest cover story — read the story before publication.
Brauer writes, “Getting a sensitive source to cooperate is often a matter of flattery, diplomacy and pressure; the challenge is not to sell out in pursuit of the story. Although Kurschner wrote a full-page editor’s note detailing the six-month saga of securing Petters’ cooperation, he did not disclose to readers the unusual provision that might have been the deal-clincher.
“As Kurschner explained to me, ‘An extra and unusual step in the fact-checking process — necessitated by the extraordinary complexities of this story and difficulties communicating into prison — did not in any way affect how the story was written and presented to our readers.’
“He adds, “normally, we don’t do” pre-publication review, “but part of the issue was logistics. It’s impossible to call and talk about a 14-page story” over a jailhouse phone. “He’s charged so much for calls and has no money. He can’t just get on the phone and email people.’
“The other issue, Kurschner says, was Petters’ plans to appeal his conviction, for which he is serving 50 years with no chance of parole. Petters’ ‘hypersensitive’ lawyers advised him not to do the story; pre-review was necessary to clinch the deal.”
Read more here. Would you have allowed Petters to review the story?