Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anonymous Source Watch: Definitions

I should define what I call an anonymous quote. Anytime the speaker or source for the information isn’t named, I call that anonymous. Excluded from that are unnamed “official spokesperson” where it is clear their words are sanctioned by the agency. Also generally excluded are times when a reporter spoke to many people to come up with background information (“multiple sources have confirmed”) but the specifics of source-given information cannot be ascertained.

I also separate the number of quotes by paragraphs, even if the source is the same. My theory is that the number of times the article cuts to anonymous sources is what I’m counting (even if is the same source, quoted two or three times in the same article). However if one anonymous source is quoted through successive paragraphs, that counts as one quote (they got their bite at the apple)

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