When is it justified for a publication to use a confidential source for an important story? When isn’t it?
MD: Great question. Most of the major media outlets have rules regarding how to use unnamed sourcing. Most of them stress that anonymous sources should never be allowed to make allegations, although sometimes they miss this mark. (The NY Times ombudsman took his paper to task for this last year.) Unnamed sources should be used when all other methods to go on the record have been exhausted. Some research shows that many reporters grant anonymity too easily and that sources themselves admit that they’d go on the record if pressed.
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