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A question about sources

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by e4, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. e4

    e4 Member

    I'm not facing this problem, but I was thinking about it...

    Can/do reporters, in instances where sources request anonymity for certain pieces of information, quote their "anonymous" source in other places or context so as to suggest this person wasn't the anonymous tipster, thereby helping to protect the source for the information he/she wasn't supposed to leak ?
  2. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    I wouldn't. If he wants anonymity, I'd keep his name as far away from the story as possible.

    Now if this was a plant job, and he anonymously tips you then reacts to the tip you supposedly dug up, I guess that would work.
  3. e4

    e4 Member

    Is it ethical for a reporter -- with the reader's trust in mind -- to get a tip from, say, John, who is an authority position and knows firsthand about an issue but can't talk about it because people above him have said so, then say John declined comment on the issue even though he provided you with the information.

    It would take the scent of John's trail when his superiors go looking for the leak.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest


    and, if you're going down the slippery slope of anonymous sources, you sure as to hell better find another source -- anonymous or not -- to support what the original anonymous source said.
  5. blondebomber

    blondebomber Member

    A J-school prof once told me there's an old journalism tenet that when an anonymous surce is used in a story, he always appears somewhere else in the article. Should be added to Roger Ebert's Little Movie Glossary just under the appearance of a gun (if shown, it will always be used).
  6. slipshod

    slipshod Member

    That would not be a hard and fast rule for me. It's a case-by-case basis. I also say why someone chooses anonymity, and I try to get more than one source. In a recent case, I got a tip from one person who would not be the source, then got the information sourced from two others. I purposely left all their names out, since they represented the only two entities who had the information, and from a news standpoint their public ``no comments'' really weren't necessary. If a story quotes five or six people, and one of them is the source, no problem identifying them in the non-incriminating quotes. I NEVER however identify someone as refusing to comment on some specific issue when he or she is indeed the anonymous source.
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