• Policy on anonymous sources

    Anonymity threatens a newspaper’s credibility.  Our newsrooms’ compact with its audience is bound by the credibility.  That’s why using anonymous sources should clear the highest barriers.

    All anonymous quotes and citations MUST be cleared by a faculty editor unless prevented by time factors.  Reporters MUST reveal the source to their editors.  Failure to do so might result in the reduction of your grade.

    Before we publish a local story with anonymous sources, editors and reporters should ask these questions:

    1.  Is the information absolutely essential?  Put another way: Could we still run the story without the anonymous source?

    2. Could we convince the source to go on the record? Or could we get the information from an on-the-record source?

    3. Does the source believe he or she will be harmed? That could be either physical harm or the loss of livelihood, but it does not mean simple embarrassment.

    4. Is the source hiding behind anonymity to take a cheap shot at an enemy?

    5. Is the story important enough to the health of our community to override the risk to the news organization’s credibility? (A story about bad housing might be; a story about a quaint old house probably is not.)

    Source: Columbia Misssourian Style Guide

    ----------Posted on December 8, 2014 by in 4804, 4806, 4814, 4992, 7802, Convergence Resources, Help Files, MSJ

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