Who Said That?
| American Journalism Review
| From AJR, August/September 2003|
Who Said That?
By Jill Rosen
For an industry supposedly trying to cut back on anonymous sources, we've apparently got a ways to go. Not that it's scientific, but a Lexis-Nexis check of news outlets in the first 10 days of June shows nebulous "officials" are getting more than a little ink. Here's how many times certain anonymity catchphrases appeared during that period as well as a few examples of how reporters categorized their nameless sources:
Jill Rosen is AJR's assistant managing editor
Phrase: "Who requested anonymity"
Who said it: "High level staffers" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); "A hospital worker" (Boston Globe); "Another council member" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer).
Phrase: "Who declined to give his name"
Who said it: "One delivery man" (Washington Post); "a Carpet Mart shopper" (Pennsylvania's Harrisburg Patriot-News); "a jeweler out on the street" (New York Times).
Phrase: "Sources close to"
Who said it: Sources close to the ACC expansion (Charlotte Observer); a source close to Janeane Garofalo (New York Post).
Phrase: "Sources say" ###
Who said it: "A diplomatic source" (Christian Science Monitor); an "inside" source at Ricky Martin's record label who's also referred to as "our snitch" (New York's Daily News); "sources close to the family" (Washington's Tacoma News Tribune).
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