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Anonymous Sources: Can an intern be an "official"?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by YankeeFan, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    What do you think? Should they have used a better, more accurate description:

  2. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    My knee-jerk reaction is "heck no," and that's my verdict here, especially because it deals with opinion more than insider facts.

    The thing is, there are times when an intern is given responsibilities or privy to information that would make them a reliable anonymous source or even an official voice on the subject, which, like all others, requires vetting.

    There was poor vetting here, according to the column.
  3. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Using "officials" or "authorities" is usually shorthand for "I don't really know who said this."
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    No reason to even grant anonymity in return for opinion.

    AP doesn't even allow it:

  5. jlee

    jlee Well-Known Member

    Very true. In this case, though, the e-mails were not sent to reporters, but between government workers. The opinions were unsolicited and not meant to influence public perception. There's a grey area there. Had it been from an actual "official," I'd call it news.
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