source


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

In journalism, a source is a person, publication, or other record or document that gives timely information. Outside journalism, sources are sometimes known as “news sources”. Examples of sources include official records, publications or broadcasts, officials in government or business, organizations or corporations, witnesses of crime, accidents or other events, and people involved with or affected by a news event or issue. According to Shoemaker (1996) and McQuail (1994), there are a multitude of factors that tend to condition the acceptance of sources as bona fide by investigative journalists. Reporters are expected to develop and cultivate sources, especially if they regularly cover a specific topic, known as a “beat”. Beat reporters must, however, be cautious of becoming too close to their sources. Reporters often, but not always, give greater leeway to sources with little experience. For example, sometimes a person will say they don’t want to talk, and then proceed to talk; if that person is not a public figure, reporters are less likely to use that information. Journalists are also encouraged to be skeptical without being cynical (“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”). As a rule of thumb, but especially when reporting on controversy, reporters are expected to use multiple sources.