Protecting Sources

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

As budding journalist we are just begining to figure out ways to find sources. We talk to our friends and prowl the internet looking for reliable information.

The question is whether we think about their protection. This is in reference to those sources that find you, namely those looking to expose the corrupt.

In a recent article with the Society of Professional Journalists, Lucy Dalglish revealed a few of her tips for protecting whistleblowing sources. The folowing are a few that really stuck with me.

1. Be Clear- Your source need to be aware of what your willing to do to protect them.

2.Don't keep reports on file after your article is published.

3.Consider publishing everything- In doing so a subpoena may not be issued requiring you to give up any information you have left.

Protecting your sources is of the utmost inportance, especially when it comes to sensitive subject matter. People don't take to well to having their secrets exposed and will look for someone to blame.

While they may pursue you their is usually nothing they can do and their next target may be your sources. Know that if a source is revealled they will most likely never provide information again.

While not the most important reason to protect your sources, this is deffinately of high priority. Without our sources journalists really have nothing.


Jessalyn Holdcraft October 10, 2011 at 9:10 PM  

The importance of protecting a source is a direct reflection of a reporter's credibility. However, before granting anonymity to a source, the reporter should ask if the source would be willing to use his/her real name. Being able to put a name to quotes carries more weight than faceless, anonymous words. Fact checking also becomes more difficult because it is more precarious attempting to explain why a fact needs to be verified. Overall, a journalist's is to report, but when that news comes without a name, a journalist must be a protector of that identity.

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