Anonymous Sources


Washington Post/2005

Following our class discussion on anonymous sources, here’s a poem on the use/abuse of anonymity in the New York Times.   The most recent Public Editor blog, by Margaret Sullivan, on the use of anonymous sources is here.  She too mentions the @NYTAnon twitter feed.   I’ve put a link to the class slides in Ctools, and hopefully the readings (up to page 181 of Amnesia) will be there within the next day or two.

ASSIGNMENT:  Write a 500 word post on the use of sources and the level of danger they face in your chosen country. You can write about sources in general, or you could write about one specific example where an anonymous source was used or a source’s identity was divulged perhaps unwillingly or at a cost.   Remember to source each statement, and link to your sources within your post. (to be posted by Jan 20th at 8am)

And finally, on the topic of free speech, here’s a warning one publisher to her journalists to stop swearing in the newsroom. Apparently, the cause of the cursing is likely to be the disappearance of junk food from the newsroom vending machine.  No junk food.  No swearing.  Doesn’t sound much like a newsroom to me.



AFP/Martin Bureau

AFP/Martin Bureau

The new Charlie Hebdo has been printed with the Prophet Mohammed on the cover.  The cartoonist who drew the picture, Renald Luzier, explained it at a press conference where he repeatedly broke down.  “It was not the front page the world wanted us to make, but it was the one that we wanted to make,” he said. “It was not the front page the terrorists wanted us to make, because there are no terrorists in it, there is just a man crying, a guy crying – it’s Mohammad.”

In the US, the Washington Post printed the picture, so for the first time depicted the Prophet Mohammed, while for its part the New York Times did not take this step, but instead warned about the possibility of reprisals.

In Hong Kong, a pro-democracy tycoon who runs the Apple Daily newspaper, Jimmy Lai, had a petrol bomb thrown at his house, sparking a #jesuisjimmy hashtag, while a German correspondent in China wrote this sobering account of the arrest of her Chinese assistant.   Before Thursday’s class, please read the first 82 pages of the People’s Republic of Amnesia, and make sure that you have filed your first blogpost by 8am.