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Don Ohlmeyer and the Scourge of the Unnamed Source

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Michael Echan, May 27, 2010.

  1. As SF Express said, it's not using unnamed sources that's the problem, it's using WRONG unnamed sources.

    Agreed that they can be overused - but ask reporters who work for Gannett, or other shops where you can't use unnamed sources, and they'll usually tell you they hate it. Yeah, coaching hirings and player transactions aren't Watergate, but they're still of great interest to readers, and people in the know are often reluctant to have their name attached to them.

    The thing I love is public figures (coaches, A.D.'s, GMs, owners, etc.) railing against unnamed sources. Yeah, everyone hates them - unless they want a story out and they need to be the unnamed source.
  2. Michael Echan

    Michael Echan Member

    Like I said before, I believe that unnamed sources are necessary, for obvious and previously stated reasons. But I also agree that they are being grossly and recklessly over-used. There has to be some middle ground, though, where you can both protect the identity of your source but still give the source some credibility (other than, you know, giving accurate, important intel), right?
  3. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    I'll take this one. Most journalists don't name a source because the person could lose their job/credibility, etc. It has nothing to with keeping a name private because people don't know who he is.

    That being said unnamed sources can be very tricky. Before I covered sports, I spent the majority of my career in politics. My rule of thumb was to never quote unnamed sources in an attack piece. Never quote a spokesman as an unnamed source. The only person to use was a candidate/person the story was about.
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