Department Policy on Use of Anonymous Sources

When journalists use anonymous sources it allows those sources to be unaccountable for what they say. In some cases, the only way to get a difficult story is with the use of anonymous sources. But even then, a good journalist will try to corroborate information from another independent source. When journalists rely too heavily on anonymous sources, people question the credibility of the story. The department discourages the use of anonymous sources except when the story cannot otherwise be done. Some circumstances call for the use of anonymous sources, such as if the sources name is used, he/she will suffer retribution from an employer, or family, friends or acquaintances. If physical harm is of issue, this too is a reason to consider using an anonymous source. Before you use an anonymous source in a story, check with an instructor or faculty adviser first. Perhaps there are other avenues you can follow without having to rely on an anonymous source.