With Due Process Anonymity of a Source is the Best Course (Haiman 17-28)

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Though anonymous sources have been notorious for taking unwarranted shots at people who were unaware and or undeserving of such, they have often proven useful.  Imagine yourself with a world changing secret that you felt was imperative to our existence, however you have a great fear for your life should you be named as the source of this knowledge.  In a situation of such extremes news organizations should have some kind of process to maintain their credibility as a news provider, while respecting the wishes of their source.  They are as follows: 

1. The story was of great significance and absolutely unavailable in any other way. 

2. Another reputable news organization had already published it and it was in 

general circulation. In that case, it would be published with attribution to the 

news organization that had originally published it. (Editor's note: Some people 

might regard this approach as a cop-out -- as a way for a newspaper to publish 

unsourced material without breaching the anonymous-source policy for its own 


3. If one of USA TODAY's most veteran and respected reporters developed the 

story, and it came from a highly trusted source with a history of honesty and 

reliability. In that case, if the reporter could convince the editor that the story 

was solid, then the reporter would be allowed to write it under his or her byline 

and state it as something "USA TODAYhas learned." This technique -- used 

very rarely -- put the onus squarely on the reporter, not on the source. And 

even in these cases no unattributed direct quotes were permitted; the reporter 

was required to "translate"or paraphrase what the unnamed source was saying 

and state it in his or her own words. 

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