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Should journalists stop relying so much on anonymous sources?

Eroding trust in traditional news, or essential to landing public interest stories? Two contributors discuss where to draw the line on unnamed voices

Photo: Pixabay

Yes—Alan Rusbridger

I recently read a 1,000-word political story with 19 anonymous sources. Or perhaps there were only four or five—or even (a cynic might say) only one. There was a “senior insider” (have you ever read anything attributed to a “junior insider”?) There was a “senior source”—possibly a separate person. Then two more insiders, before we met “a government source.” They were joined halfway through by a “senior No 10 source,” a plain “insider” and plain “source.” I’m not saying these people don’t exist, or…

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