How Anonymous Sources Work with The Doe

Online newspaper talks about sourcing

Anonymous sources are people who are interviewed by journalists but do not want to be publicly named in the article they produce. 

Newspaper, utilises anonymous sources to get to the bottom of news stories in a wide variety of areas. They believe that honest, truthful journalism is of notable benefit of society and something it is seriously missing.

Why Use Anonymous Sources?

Using anonymous sources is something that has been controversial in the world of journalism for a while.  There are a lot of editors who disapprove of the practice.  The most obvious reason for this is the fact they are seen as less credible than someone speaking on the record.

After all, if someone is not willing to put their name behind what they are telling the journalist, how can you know that what they say is actually true or accurate.  There is a chance the source is manipulating the journalist for their own ulterior motives. 

These are serious concerns and if any journalist wants to use an anonymous source, they need to talk to their editor.  Their editor is the one who will decide whether working with the source is ethical or necessary. 

Of course, there are times when working with an anonymous source is the only way to get the important information needed for a story.  This is something that anyone in the news business understands.  The need for these sources is particularly important for investigative stories where the source has little to gain and a lot to lose if their name does become public. is a place where people can post with total anonymity and without judgment.

An example of this will be a journalist investigating allegations made against a mayor.  The allegation is that they are embezzling money from the town treasury.  You may find a number of sources in the town government who can confirm this, but they are nervous about being fired if they go public.  These people will only be willing to talk to you if they remain anonymous. 

This situation is not ideal as journalists and editors prefer sources who go on the report.  However, the situation is such that the information needed can only be obtained from these sources leaving the journalist will little choice. 

If you are working with anonymous sources, you should never base a story entirely on what they say.  Journalists should always try and verify the information by talking to other sources who are willing to speak publicly or through other means.  In this example, you could try looking at the Treasury records to determine if the accusations are correct.

Deep Throat

One of the most famous anonymous sources was the one used by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who helped them uncover the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration.  The source was identified only as Deep Throat and they provided information and tips to the journalists as they looked into the allegations of criminal activity in the White House.  While they had the anonymous source, both journalists took the time to check the information they received with other sources.

Bob Woodward did promise that he would never reveal the true identity of Deep Throat and there was speculation in Washington over who the anonymous source was for decades.  This came to an end in 2005 when Vanity Fair published an article naming Mark Felt, the associate director of the FBI at the time, as Deep Throat.  This was confirmed by both journalists and the mystery ended.  Mark Felt died in 2008. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on