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Encyclopedia > Journalism sourcing
It has been suggested that Attribution (journalism) be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
Topics in Journalism.
Professional concepts

Ethics & News values
Objectivity & Attribution
News source
News & Investigation
Reporting & Writing
Business & Citizen
Alternative & Advocacy
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Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... In journalism attribution is the identification of the source of reported information. ... Journalism is a discipline of collecting, verifying, analyzing and presenting information gathered regarding current events, including trends, issues and people. ... Journalism ethics and standards include principles of ethics and of good practice to address the specific challenges faced by professional journalists. ... News values determine how much prominence a news story is given by a media outlet. ... Objectivity is frequently held to be essential to proper journalism (particularly in the United States); however, there is some disagreement about what the concept consists of. ... In journalism attribution is the identification of the source of reported information. ... Source is a term used in journalism to refer to any individual from whom information about a story has been received. ... News is essentially new information or current events. ... Investigative journalism is a kind of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a topic of interest, often related to crime, scandals, government corruption, or white collar crime. ... A reporter is a type of journalist who researches and presents information in certain types of mass media. ... News style is the prose style of short, front-page newspaper stories and the news bulletins that air on radio and television. ... Business journalism includes coverage of companies, the workplace, personal finance, and economics, including unemployment and other economic indicators. ... Citizen journalism, also known as participatory journalism, is the act of citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information, according to the seminal report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, by Shayne Bowman and Chris... As long as there has been media there has been alternative media. ... Advocacy journalism is a genre of journalism which is strongly fact-based, but may seek to support a point-of-view in some public or private sector issue. ... Science journalism is a relatively new branch of journalism, which utilizes the art of reporting to convey information on science topics to a public forum. ... List of journalism topics A-D AP Stylebook Arizona Republic Associated Press Bar chart Canadian Association of Journalists Chart Citizen journalism Committee to Protect Journalists Conservative bias Copy editing Desktop publishing E-J Editor Freedom of the press Graphic design Hedcut Headline Headlinese Hostile media effect House style Information graphic... List of books related to journalism: The Art of Editing, by Floyd K. Baskette, Jack Z. Scissors, Brian S. Brooks Designing Infographics The Elements of Journalism What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel Infographics, by James Glen Stovall Media Management in the...

Outside influence

Infotainment & Celebrity
Infotainers & Personalities
Distorted news & VNRs
Yellow journalism
Public relations
Propaganda model Infotainment or soft news, refers to a general type of news media broadcast program which either provides a combination of current events news and entertainment programming, or an entertainment program structured in a news format. ... Celebrity news is an aspect of the wider infotainment/news trade which focuses on celebrities and celebrity gossip. ... Infotainers are entertainers in infotainment media, such as news anchors or news personalities who cross the line between journalism (quasi-journalism) and entertainment within the broader news trade. ... Infotainment or soft news, refers to a part of the wider news trade that provides information in a way that is considered entertaining to its viewers, as evident by attraction of a higher market demographic. ... Distorted news or planted news are terms in journalism for two deviated aspects of the wider news media wherein media outlets deliberately present false data, evidence, or sources as factual, in contradiction to the ethical practices in professional journalism. ... Public relations person, using a fictitious name, appears in U.S. Government Transportation Security Administration video news release on airport security (screenshot) A video news release (VNR) is a public relations or a propaganda technique whereby a video or radio program is produced, edited and distributed to various media outlets... Yellow journalism is a term given to any widespread tendencies or practices within media organizations that are detrimental to, or substandard from the point of view of, journalistic integrity. ... Public relations is, simply-stated, the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key audiences. ... The propaganda model is a theory of political economy advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky that seeks to explain the supposed systemic political biases of the mass media in terms of structural economic causes. ...

News media

Newspapers & Magazines
Agencies
Broadcasting
Online & Blogging News media satellite up-link trucks and photojournalists gathered outside the Prudential Financial headquarters in Newark, New Jersey in August, 2004 following the announcement of evidence of a terrorist threat to it and to buildings in New York City. ... A collection of magazines A magazine is a periodical publication containing a variety of articles, generally financed by advertising and/or purchase by readers. ... A news agency is an of organization journalists established to supply news reports to organizations in the news trade: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. ... Broadcast journalism refers to television news and radio news, as well as the online news outlets of broadcast affiliates. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... A blog is a website in which journal entries are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. ...

Roles

Journalists, Reporters, Editors, Anchors, Photojournalists, Visual journalists The terms news trade or news business refers to news-related organizations in the mass media (or information media) as a business entity —associated with but distinct from the profession of journalism. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... A reporter is a type of journalist who researches and presents information in certain types of mass media. ... An Editor is a person who prepares text—typically language, but also images and sounds—for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it. ... NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw A news presenter is, broadly speaking, a person that presents a news show on television, radio or the Internet. ... Sports photojournalists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. ...

Wiki Projects

Journalism Project
Media Project
Members needed

In journalism, a source is a person, publication or other record or document that gives information. Journalism is a discipline of collecting, verifying, analyzing and presenting information gathered regarding current events, including trends, issues and people. ...

Contents


Overview

Examples of sources include: official records, publications or broadcasts, officials in government or business, organizations or corporations, witnesses of crime, accidents or other events, and people involved with or affected by a news event or issue.


Reporters are expected to develop and cultivate sources. This applies especially if they regularly cover a specific topic, known as a "beat". However, beat reporters must be cautious of becoming too close to their sources.


Reporters often but not always give greater leeway to sources with little experience. For example, sometimes a person will say they don't want to talk, and then proceed to talk. If that person is not a public figure, reporters are less likely to use that information.


Journalists are also encouraged to be skeptical without being cynical ("If your mother says she loves you, check it out.") As a rule of thumb, but especially when reporting on controversy, reporters are expected to use multiple sources.


Outside journalism, sources are sometimes known as a "news source".


Embargo

In journalism and public relations, an embargo (sometimes called a press embargo) is an agreement or request that a news organization refrain from reporting certain information until a specified date and/or time, in exchange for advance access to the information. For example, if a government official is preparing to make a short speech announcing a policy initiative at 1:00 pm, the official's staff might transmit expanded details of the initiative to news organizations several hours ahead of the scheduled announcement, with a notice indicating that the contents are embargoed until 1:00. This gives the news organizations time to research and prepare complete stories that are ready to be disseminated when the embargo is lifted. In theory, press embargoes reduce inaccuracy in the reporting of breaking stories by reducing the incentive for journalists to cut corners in hopes of "scooping" the competition. Journalism is a discipline of collecting, verifying, analyzing and presenting information gathered regarding current events, including trends, issues and people. ... Public relations is, simply-stated, the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key audiences. ...


Embargoes are typically used by government or corporate representatives working in publicity or public relations, and are often arranged in advance as part of a formal or informal agreement. Sometimes publishers will release advance copies of a book to reviewers with the agreement that reviews of it will not appear before the official release date of the publication. Complex scientific news might also require advance notice with an embargo. Governments also have legitimate reasons for imposing embargoes, often so as to prevent news reports being an unfair or undue influence over votes in legislative bodies. Artists' names and locations of performances are sometimes embargoed pending the official announcement of the scheduled performance tour. A corporation is a legal entity (distinct from a natural person) that often has similar rights in law to those of a natural person. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Sometimes publicists will send embargoed press releases to newsrooms unsolicited in hopes that they will respect the embargo date without having first agreed to do so. A news release or press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something claimed as having news value. ...


News organizations sometimes break embargoes and report information before the embargo expires, either accidentally (due to miscommunication in the newsroom) or intentionally (to get the jump on their competitors). Breaking an embargo is typically considered a serious breach of trust and can result in the source barring the offending news outlet from receiving advance information in the future.


For the economic term, see Embargo. This article is about the economic term. ...


Unidentified sources

Most sources are not confidential. At least in the United States, most news organizations have policies governing the use of anonymous sources. Critics sometimes cite instances of news organizations breaking these policies. Research indicates that anonymous sourcing undermines credibility. But there are instances that many journalists believe call for anonymous sourcing.


Whether anonymous sources are used may depend on:

  • Whether the information is available any other way.
  • If getting the information out serves a greater good.
  • Whether or not competing news outlets might do so.

Many news organizations require use of anonymous sources to be approved by someone senior to the reporter. Some also require the reporter to tell a senior person the identity.


In the United States, anonymous sources are used more in Washington than by smaller news organizations.


The George W. Bush administration and the Washington press corps has been criticized for the use of background briefings for which no source is identified. George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. ...


When a source requests anonymity, they are referred to as a "confidential source". They may appear in articles:

  • With information about why they must be confidential: "One worker, who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation..."
  • Cited with authority: "sources close to the investigation", or "a senior administration official"
  • As a mass noun: "Critics say..."
  • As a pronoun: "Some charge that..."
  • As a passive voice construct: "It is suspected that...", "CNN has learned that..."

Sometimes, though rarely, sources are impersonal or unknown. Neil Sheehan received the complete text of the Pentagon Papers on his doorstep, left there by an unknown individual, later revealed to be Daniel Ellsberg. Sources may also engage in disguise and/or voice alteration, nicknames, aliases, or simply not mention their identity, as attempts to ensure their anonymity. In some cases, this may be due in part to lack of trust between sources and reporters or their news organizations. In reality, few journalists will accept information from an anonymous source, though they may pretend to have done so in order to protect the source's identity, or to protect themselves in case a court later orders them to name the source. Cornelius Mahoney Neil Sheehan (born October 27, 1936) is an American journalist. ... The Pentagon Papers is the colloquial term for United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense, a 47 volume, 7,000-page, top-secret United States Department of Defense history of the United States political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945... Daniel Ellsberg ©1990 Jock McDonald Daniel Ellsberg (born April 7, 1931) is a former military analyst who precipitated a national uproar in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, the US militarys account of activities during the Vietnam War, to The New York Times. ...


Journalists can usually count on the support of their editors and publishers when refusing to identify a confidential source. Some courts have upheld the sanctity of the informal privacy agreement between a journalist and his/her sources as a matter of unofficial confidence, in the belief that the confidential nature of the journalist-source relationship underpins the existence of a free press. Look up Confidence and confidence in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In the modern age, the free press has taken on multiple meanings. ...


In some cases, courts will break the notion of reporter-source privilege, and demand a reporter reveal their source under pain of contempt of court. Often, reporters will resist such demands. In the 2005 Plame affair, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for 85 days for refusing to identify vice presidential aide Lewis Libby as her source until he gave her a personal release of confidentiality. Contempt of court is a court ruling which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, deems an individual as holding contempt for the court, its process, and its invested powers. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... Judith Miller (born January 2, 1948) was a writer for The New York Times. ... --66. ...


In the United States, some states have shield laws which protect journalists by statute, rather than relying on courts to find a common law justification. Shield laws are laws that are passed by some states in order to protect the reporters right to keep their sources private. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...


Confidentiality terminology

Communications between a source and a journalist can be governed by a number of terms of use, which have developed over time between journalists and their sources, often government or other high-profile sources, as informal agreements regarding how the information will be used, and whether the identity of the source will be protected. These terms may apply to an entire conversation, or only part. Some of the terms are not clearly defined, so experienced journalists use them with caution. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


George Freeman, attorney for the New York Times told the American Journalism Review that he's "never quite figured out" the differences between terms like "background" and "off the record." "I tell reporters if they really want the source to understand, make it clear. But those words generally cause more confusion than anything else." [1]


"On the record"

The phrase on the record is used to refer to making an audio or video recording, making a transcription, or taking minutes. Transcription may be one of the following: In linguistics, transcription is the conversion of spoken words into written language. ... Minutes are the instant written record of a meeting or hearing. ...


By analogy, it has also come to be used by sources to indicate that the information they are giving may be freely reported, and that they may be fully identified.


"Not for attribution"

Not for attribution simply means that the information given can be used but the source must not be identified.


"Off the record"

Some journalists use the term off the record to mean that nothing in a communication may be publicly disclosed, including the fact that the communication occurred at all, and the source remains anonymous. Other journalists use the term to mean that the information may be used, but the source may not be named (that is, the same as "not for attribution"). Off the record is a term used mainly in journalism to refer to information given to a journalist, where the identity of the source is to be protected, but the information can be used. ...


"On background"

Some journalists consider information given on background to mean that the information may be reported, but that source may not be identified. (The same as "not for attribution".) Others, especially investigative journalists, would say that this means the information may not be publicly reported. The term comes from the notion of giving "background information", as in the act of educating the journalist about the subject in general, without saying anything that can be used in a specific story.


Deep background

For journalists who regard information received on background as usable, the most confidential category is deep background. This type of information can be used only if confirmed by another source not speaking on background, whereupon it might be attributed to the second source. The existence of the original source would remain secret. For example, during the Watergate Scandal, a confidential informant, codenamed Deep Throat, gave information on a "deep background" basis to the Washington Post. While Woodward and Bernstein could use what they'd been told in their investigations, they could not quote Deep Throat directly or indirectly, nor give any identifying information as to who he was or how they were able to communicate with him. In their book about Watergate, All the President's Men, Deep Throat consented to move from deep background to background and the public became aware of the existence of this source. The Watergate Complex (now the Watergate Hotel) as depicted in Government Exhibit 1. ... W. Mark Felt, on the set of CBSs Face the Nation in 1976. ... ... This article is about the journalist. ... Carl Bernstein (born February 14, 1944) is an American journalist who, as an investigative reporter for The Washington Post along with Bob Woodward, broke the story of the Watergate break-in and consequently helped bring about the resignation of US president Richard Nixon. ... All the Presidents Men is a 1974 non-fiction book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post. ...


Using confidential information

Off-the-record material is often valuable and reporters may be eager to use it, so sources wishing to ensure the confidentiality of certain information are generally advised to discuss the "terms of use" before actually disclosing the information, if possible.


Some journalists and news organizations have policies against accepting information "off the record" because they believe it interferes with their ability to report truthfully, or because they suspect it may be intended to mislead them or the public.


Even if they cannot report certain information directly, journalists can use "off the record" information to uncover related facts, or to find other sources that are willing to speak on the record. This is especially useful in investigative reporting. Information about a surprise event or breaking news, whether on or off the record is known as a "tip-off". Information that leads to the uncovering of more interesting information. is called a "lead". Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... News is essentially new information or current events. ...


The identity of anonymous sources is sometimes revealed to senior editors or a news organization's lawyers, who would be considered bound by the same confidentiality. (Lawyers are generally protected from subpoena in these cases by attorney/client privilege.) Legal staff may need to give counsel about whether or not it is advisable to publish certain information, or about court proceedings that may attempt to learn confidential information. Senior editors are in the loop to prevent reporters from fabricating non-existent, anonymous sources, and to provide a second opinion about how to use the information obtained, how or how not to identify sources, and whether or not other options should be pursued. Attorney/client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between an attorney and their client(s) and keeps those communications confidential. ...


Not on tape

Whether in a formal, sit-down interview setting or an improptu meeting on the street, some sources request that all or part of the encounter not be captured in an audio or video recording ("tape"), but continue speaking to the reporter. As long as the interview is not confidential, the report may report the information given by the source, even repeating direct quotes (perhaps scribbled on a notepad or recalled from memory). This often shows up in broadcasts as "John Brown declined to be interviewed on camera, but said..." or simply "a spokesman said...".


Some interview subjects are simply uncomfortable being recorded. Some are afraid that they will be inarticlate and make fools of themselves when the interview is broadcast. Others might be uncooperative or distrust the motives or competence of the journalist, and wish to prevent them from being able to broadcast a unflattering soundbite or part of the interview out of context. Professional public relations officers know that having the reporter repeat their words, rather than being on the air themselves, will blunt the impact of their words. The audience need not see or hear them being uncomfortable (if they have unpleasant news), and not being on air also allows them to be anonymous or identified only by title. In film and broadcasting, a soundbite is a very short piece of footage taken from a longer speech or an interview in which someone with authority or the average man on the street says something which is considered by those who edit the speech or interview to be a most... Public relations is, simply-stated, the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key audiences. ...


See also

Independent sources in journalism, criminal justice and general research, represent two or more people or organizations which attest to a given piece of information. ... Double Super Secret Background is a neologism, often used humorously, that extends the journalism concept of keeping a background source secret. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Non-denial denial is a term for a particular kind of equivocation; specifically, an apparent denial that, though it appeared clearcut and unambiguous when heard, on examination turns out to be ambiguous and not a denial at all. ...

External links

  • Be Clear About Your Source's Biases and Agendas, from the Project for Excellence in Journalism
  • Broaden Your Source Base, from the Project for Excellence in Journalism
  • Developing and Cultivating Sources, by Steve Buttry
  • Viewers as Sources, from Newslab

  Results from FactBites:
 
Journalism sourcing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2013 words)
In journalism and public relations, an embargo (sometimes called a press embargo) is an agreement or request that a news organization refrain from reporting certain information until a specified date and/or time, in exchange for advance access to the information.
Some courts have upheld the sanctity of the informal privacy agreement between a journalist and his/her sources as a matter of unofficial confidence, in the belief that the confidential nature of the journalist-source relationship underpins the existence of a free press.
Communications between a source and a journalist can be governed by a number of terms of use, which have developed over time between journalists and their sources, often government or other high-profile sources, as informal agreements regarding how the information will be used, and whether the identity of the source will be protected.
First Draft by Tim Porter: According to This Reporter: Sources and Accountability (1158 words)
Anonymous sources - or anonymice, to borrow a coinage from Shafer, who borrowed it from elsewhere - by nature lack accountability, making the stories based on their words and the journalists who resort to them equally bereft of responsibility.
The Elements of Journalism states that the essence of journalism "is a discipline of verification." The purpose of putting sources in news stories is to make the verification process transparent, to show the reader the basis for all facts, assertions and opinions in the story.
If a reporter writes a story without anonymous sources, but instead fills with declarations in his own voice the places where "sources said" would appear, it is the reporter who will be proven correct or incorrect as history trudges onward and on-the-record sources eventually emerge from hiding, as they always do.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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