NPR staff will now ask interviewees who are or were affiliated with the Trump administration if they signed a non-disclosure agreement barring them from speaking fully.
“Non-disclosure agreements, though widely used in the business world, have not previously been common practice in government, where public accountability is paramount,” NPR public editor Elizabeth Jensen explained, noting that last month former Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman and current White House adviser Kellyanne Conway confirmed some Trump White House staffers have signed NDAs.
The new standard came from NPR standards and practices editor Mark Memmott who released a Sept. 7 memo on NPR’s website.
“When interviewing officials who have left the White House about their time with the Trump administration or current issues involving the administration, it is important that we ask whether they signed non-disclosure agreements covering their work and what they can say about the president,” he wrote.
Noting NDAs “may not be enforceable,” he advised, “we should know whether the persons we’re interviewing feel bound by any restrictions about what they can say. If so, that is information that will inform our decision about whether to go ahead with an interview and is information we need to share with our audience if we do proceed.”
NPR public editor Elizabeth Jensen blogged that her office received questions from two listeners about interviews with people affiliated with the administration, prompting Memmott to issue his guidance.