David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (4):297-315 (2011)
This article critically examines the practice of unnamed sourcing in journalism. A literature review highlights arguments in favor of and against their use. The authors examine some common examples of anonymous sourcing using the lens of utilitarianism, the ethical model commonly used to justify the practice. We find that few uses of unnamed sourcing can be justified when weighed against diminished credibility and threats to fair, transparent reporting. The authors suggest specific guidelines for journalists that, if followed, would curb many of the pedestrian uses of unnamed sourcing but still allow for the practice in specific circumstances.
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References found in this work BETA
Sissela Bok (1982/1984). Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation. Oxford University Press.
Deni Elliott (2007). Getting Mill Right. Journal of Mass Media Ethics 22 (2 & 3):100 – 112.
Aaron Quinn (2010). Respecting Sources; Confidentiality : Critical but Not Absolute. In Christopher Meyers (ed.), Journalism Ethics: A Philosophical Approach. Oxford University Press.
W. D. Ross (2002). The Right and the Good. Clarendon Press.
Taegyu Son (2002). Leaks: How Do Codes of Ethics Address Them? Journal of Mass Media Ethics 17 (2):155 – 173.
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