Show and Explain Sources

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
R Y Shah
The Galatic Institute of Root Journalism

There is a wide-spread problem in journalism in regards to how journalists get their information. Oftentimes it’s from the internet; journalists will feed off of other AP reporters’ articles, thereby creating redundant and illegitimate reporting. Other times journalists will contact “experts” from established think tanks whose modus operandi is highly questionable.


A lecherous industry has grown underfoot to serve government and placate the news media. The press has become all to close to powerful elites in Washington, and will cite experts and organizations that have the interests of this upper echelon in mind rather than the interests of the people.


By telling and describing the origins of one’s information the reader can determine what is firsthand and secondhand knowledge; Thereby able to judge the overall validity of the article.
Having readers who are generally acquainted with one’s sources allows the public to see where a majority of opinion is derived in the press. Stating only the names of organizations specializing in opinions is rather misleading. What is the Center for Strategic and International Studies? The Brookings Institution? The Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute? Who are they? What do they do? A brief description should follow such sources; clearly outlining their facility, history, monetary funding and any political allegiances.
Doing so requires a distinct viewpoint. (See Diversity Instead of Objectivity.) Such a description cannot be meaningful unless it takes a stance so that it can then form a specific viewpoint in regards to other bodies. Although it may be tinged with bias, this viewpoint will at least be clear, which should be more useful to the reader than purposefully redundant and neglectful reporting in the name of objectivity. (“Redundancy is much safer than throwing things open to a wild diversity of facts and opinions; it enhances the media’s own standing within governing circles and protects them from disfavor.” Greider, Who Will Tell the People, 300)
By doing this “large and well-endowed organizations” who exist “for the sole purpose of providing articles for opinion and op-ed pages” (William Greidner, Who Will Tell the People, 300) will be placed under harsh scrutiny by simply having their presence clearly illuminated whenever they wield any influence in the media.
In addition to this, contact information should be provided whenever possible incase the reader wishes to learn more about the source. Both a brief description about the source and contact information will require more space than the article itself. A section dedicated to this should follow every article.
Finally, if a reporter wishes to keep her source a secret, she must clearly and openly state why. Doing so will show the reporter as well as the readers her thinking in regard to confidentiality.


In addition to giving the name of her source, a reporter should also provide a brief description of the person or institution. Some journalists may balk at this suggestion because doing so would require having a personal perspective of which to make a meaningful description. If that’s what it takes to be truly comprehensible, then so be it.

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