SPJ Reading Room
The call before the call
What journalists should know before recording phone interviews
By Kelly Yamanouchi
In 2005, a Miami Herald columnist was fired for recording a phone interview without first gaining proper consent. The incident prompted Kelly Yamanouchi, a business reporter for The Denver Post to ask, “What should journalists consider before recording phone interviews — particularly if those interviews involve sources in states with laws that require the consent of all parties?”
Yamanouchi did some homework, and here’s what she found.
Most states require only one-party consent to recording. However, 12 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico require the consent of two or more parties. Those states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.
For a more thorough explanation of recording law in every state, see the online guides compiled by the Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
|Kelly Yamanouchi is an SPJ member and a business reporter at the Denver Post. She has also worked as a business reporter in Honolulu, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.|