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From "Best Practices for Newspaper Journalism," Robert J. Haiman:

 

When we do use anonymously sourced material it must pass three tests:

1. The material must be information and not opinion, and not speculation, and it

must be essential to the story.

2. The information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity

imposed by the source.

3. The source must be in a position to have accurate information and we understand

the source to be reliable. The reporter must ascertain from the source

how he or she knows the material to be accurate.

These guidelines come from the Associated Press.  I'm glad to see the appropriate stance to take with anonymity.  This was touched on in class when someone - I forget who it was, now - asked Dr. Jerz about his choice to use an unknown source.  This gives a clear example of when it is okay to do so.  Also, I think, it is obviously best to get the information for a story on the record, a clear goal of my papers and reporters.  It seems that the nameless source tactic is often done messily and the result is lost credibility.  I don't think for this class I'll need to use unknown sources, or should, but having an idea of when to trust their use in the news is worthy information to the news reader, also.

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