The Detroit Free Press defends the use of anonymous sources:

Paul Anger, editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press, defended the use of anonymous sources in his paper’s blockbuster Sunday story revealing alleged abuses of NCAA practice rules by the University of Michigan football program.

The report, by Michigan beat reporter Mark Snyder and columnist Michael Rosenberg, included interviews with six current and former Michigan players but did not identify them. The report alleged that the coach, Rich Rodriguez, had exceeded NCAA limits on training and practice sessions, claiming they were forced to put in more time than the rules allowed.

The story has already prompted an internal investigation by the university, while one former player has come forth on the record since the story ran to acknowledge such abuses occurred.

‘We had six players who did extensive interviews — current and former players — separate and apart from each other that described the same scenarios,’ Anger said, adding that four other players acknowledged anonymously the abuses had happened, but did not sit for interviews.”

“We always make an effort to get people on the record, we say that they appear more credible if names are in the paper,” Anger added. “But there is a great power that a coach has. He determines playing time and success. Playing time is everything and so is peer pressure. You don’t want to hurt teammates or the program.”

This is about as close as I can come to begrudgingly approve of this practice. Six people confirming the same information. The need for anonymity clearly explained. Still, you’re making an incredibly serious personal allegation at a person who can only wonder about his accusers. Hmm…