Pay for Say: The Economics of the News Exclusive

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(New York Times) — Before the subjects of headlining news stories agree to a television interview these days, some have one question: how much money can I make?    ABC and NBC, embroiled in a fight for viewers in the mornings, are increasingly in the news for their willingness to pay thousands of dollars to gain exclusive access to news subjects.  The practice was especially visible last week when ABC News ran an exclusive interview with Meagan Broussard, one of the women who was sent lewd photos by Anthony Weiner, after the network paid her about $15,000 for photos. ABC said its extensive reporting, including the interview, led to Mr. Weiner’s admissions about his online behavior.  Also last week, ABC announced that Diane Sawyer had secured the first-ever interview with Jaycee Lee Dugard, the young woman held captive for 18 years in California. ABC declared that it had not paid any fee for the interview, but last year, according to a longtime ABC News executive aware of the deal, the network paid a six-figure sum for rights to home movies of Ms. Dugard.

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