From one of my student’s final exam on the use of anonymous sources:
Media outlets should not use anonymous sourcing. A growing trend among media outlets is to attribute to unnamed or anonymous sources, or just sources. In many instances, these sources cannot be confirmed later. This calls into question the integrity of the journalist and the story. Many times people view it as an attempt by the media industry to invent or sensationalize a situation to help the bottom line. Even more telling for me, is that one Matt Jones Duffy, whom, as a Professor, I view as a subject matter expert on Journalism. Duffy is currently pursuing a PhD with an emphasis on ethics in journalism. During my time in his incredibly entertaining course, he has repeated railed against the ethical lapses and sourcing faux pas of today’s media. Duffy fosters a culture of integrity and honesty in his classes, even trying such bold social experiments as telling to students that if they aren’t going to make it to class because they are hungover they should just say so. He has made a point to drive home his belief that anonymous sourcing is just bad form. When it comes to journalism, if Duffy says don’t do it, case closed as far as I am concerned.
Yes, Pat Smith, you’re getting an A.