ABC News has decided to get out of the business of paying news subjects in connection with exclusive interviews, which often occur in crime stories, reports the Daily Beast. After taking a public-relations hit in several high-profile cases, ABC will no longer buy photos or video as a way of getting a news subject to cooperate—a process that had become a fig leaf for purchasing interviews.
The new approach is not an absolute ban, but network sources say it would take an extraordinary circumstance to allow a licensing fee—perhaps once every couple of years—that would require approval at the highest levels. ABC got a black eye after paying Casey Anthony $200,000 for photos in 2008, shortly before she was charged in the killing of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. The network's payment did not become public until a court proceeding last year. Anthony was acquitted of murder in a controversial verdict.