Two Sides

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"Asked what they would prefer if the press found it impossible to get anyone to confirm on the record the facts in a story, 45% said they would prefer if the story not run at all, 28% said the story should run with quotes from unidentified sources, and 23% said they were not concerned about unidentified sources" (Haiman 17).

If an important story took place where the reporters had sources but couldn't necessarily identify them so they decided not to run the important story, the same 45% from the above statistics would probably vote to rather have the story run with unidentified sources rather than have no knowledge of the story at all. I look at this issue as having two sides that have to be weighed carefully by the reporter and maybe even more so by the readers: a news story can me made to give people notice or updates on important happenings that sometimes wouldn't be possible without the use of unidentifiable sources; however the realability of these sources should be kept in mind and checked as well because of the chance of false information being relayed.

Taking the example from Haiman, the Clinton-Lewinsky story is a situation where people may look back now and complain of the lack of clear, identified sources, but at the time a large percentage of newspapers readers were probably hanging on the every word of each story published on the topic, regardless of the unidentified sources mentioned. The topic provided a source of a kind of entertainment because of the magnitude of the scandal and people wanted regular updates on what was taking place.

However, I personally feel that the more identifiable sources, the better. Although I too would be angry if I missed out on something important because an article wasn't published, I feel more informed and trusting towards an article when I can see the sources listed. I think this helps newspapers from chancing the reporting of false information as well as gives a source that is readily accessible for backtracking if false information does happen to be reported.


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