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Anonymous sources

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Sneed, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Sneed

    Sneed Guest

    Ever since Ed Werder quoted 3 anonymous Dallas Cowboys ripping Terrell Owens a year or so ago, I've been intrigued by the concept.

    The latest case arises in Selena Roberts's upcoming book about Alex Rodriguez. Link to the Yahoo! story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090430/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_a_rod_book

    So what is the rule on anonymous sources?

    It makes me feel like anyone could just make anything up and then say the source was anonymous.
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    It makes readers feel that way, too, so in my book, unless your story is effing Watergate, just don't do it.
  3. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    I too thought of this today when the NYDN story broke. It's all from anonymous sources. Knowing what everyone "knows" about A-Fraud, and the fact that he's been so scorned of late, why don't these players have the guts to go on the record?

    And why can't the reporters find a way to convince them to go on the record, especially when the story is so volatile?
  4. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    You just answered your own question.

    It's especially hard to get people on the record when a story is so volatile. No one wants to deal with the repercussions that come from having one's name associated with ratting someone out or blowing the lid off something others are trying to keep quiet.
  5. Why don't we on this board?
  6. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    It makes it easier for ARod to just deny everything Selena wrote and that will be that.

    This won't have the backlash that the failed test revelation had. Not even close.
  7. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    You're right, the answer is obvious. Still, I jut think Alex is so hated, what have these players got to lose by ratting on him? Isn't it almost true that everyone in baseball has a disdain for this guy? It's like not wanting to say anything publicly about a convicted criminal. Well, almost.
  8. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    Good question. I have posted anonymous stuff here myself. But this place has/should have different standards than a book house or newspaper publishing information that will kill a person's career (As if it hasn't been stomped on enough yet).
  9. I wasn't referring to Selena Roberts - I meant the players. They don't go on the record for many of the same reasons we don't.
  10. jps

    jps Active Member

    was always taught that, if someone believes in something enough, they'll almost always go on record if they're pushed/worked in the right way. sometimes not, and if what they have is absolutely necessary, it might be okay to use them as an anonymous source, but you've gotta figure out each instance on its own merits.
  11. My years in the field taught me differently. I'm sometimes shocked at how scared to death people are to go on the record. I'll have a 30-minute interview with a bit player in a story, a great conversation, and then at the end the person will say something like, "Now, don't quote me, though, OK? I was just kind of giving you some background. You should talk to So-and-So."

    A lot of it, particularly when it comes to real people, not celebs, seems to be tied to a lack of confidence in the idea of being "out there" like that. Even in the reality TV era, a lot of people are very squeamish about surrendering their privacy to the mass media.
  12. jambalaya

    jambalaya Member

    The last place I worked had a "no anonymous sources" policy. While it was frustrating at times when I had to wait on a story because I couldn't convince the source to stand behind their statement, the process undoubtedly made me a better reporter. Allowing anonymous sources so freely, in my opinion, creates a laziness that hurts our integrity. There is nothing cooler when you nail down a wicked story and all of your sources are there in print. That's when you can read the story and feel like you kicked some major ass.
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