Weekly Q: Anonymous sources are a no no!

“If the public is to act as a corrective, it needs to be aware of where the information originated” (Phillips, A, 2011, pg. 295).

If someone told you a secret and then told you that they couldn’t say who told them, would you believe them? Anonymous sources are the same. When reading a news story or book and you see they have used anonymous sources, do you start to consider where it came from, whether it is true or not, do you ever think, maybe they made the whole thing up?

It is important to have valid sources for a number of reasons, to support specifics in your work, to validate your work, to add credibility and truthfulness, to show depth and scope, and to make the story believable (Phillips, A, 2011). Without knowing where the information has come from, readers are left unknown of the origin and unable to check this. Boeyink, D (2009) explains that journalists should expect this if they are using anonymous sources, as any story is demoralized when marred by misrepresentation; it becomes a distorted piece of information, which leaves the readers guessing the truth.

However I think it is understandable of why people use anonymous sources, so people aren’t harmed or threatened for releasing information. But it will always be a 50/50 chance of truth and lies, and Boeyink, D (2009) says that using anonymous sources should barely be the last option.

While in the process of my news story I have decided not to use any anonymous sources as I feel like it would devalue my work. I feel like people would not be as interested or believe my work and therefore take little notice in it.

Check out my 6th post down below, it is a video about the sources I will be using. I will also be researching authorized information to use, and doing an extra set of interviews with more buskers who perform in a similar area to the Quay St rapper. Also, continue to keep updated with my blog to find out how my interviews go and how I will incorporate my sources within my news story on Friday October 24th.

So anonymous sources are definitely a no no, but are increasingly popular, do you think they are good or bad? This article from the Washington Post has some examples with some “rather curious explanations.”

References:

Boeyink, D. (2009). Anonymous Sources in News Stories: Justifying Exceptions and Limiting Abuses, Journal of Mass Media Ethics: Exploring Questions of Media Morality, 5:4, 233-246, DOI: 10.1207/s15327728jmme0504_2

Phillips, A. (2011). Transparency and the new ethics of journalism. In The future of journalism (Franklin, B. ed.). Oxon, U.K. ; New York : Routledge.

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