Wednesday, March 15, 2006

When good people give bad advice, Tom Foremski edition

In an email from Bull Dog Reporter (no link) Tom Foremski was quoted on tips for pitching bloggers:

Treat bloggers like journalists—with these exceptions. “While bloggers shouldn’t be treated that differently, you do have to make the rules more clear,” Foremski says. “That includes being very specific about what you mean by things like ‘off the record,’ ‘on background’ and ‘embargoed.’ Make sure the definitions are very clear on both sides first.”

It is no secret that respect for the American press is at an all time low. The use of anonymous sources played a huge role in the degradation of our press.

More importantly, I don’t think we can live in freedom if we are incapable of speaking on the record. Our profession can go a long way to ending this evil practice if we so desire; but the Tom Foremski’s of this world need to do their part. Foremski needs to say, “If you want your ideas published in Silicon Valley Watcher, you have to go on the record.”


Tom Foremski said...

To get rid of the unamed source would be a terrible loss. Some stories can only be told if the source is protected.

Anonymous sources do NOT degrade our press. Not enough journalism degrades our press, imho.

Alice said...

Almost every press disaster of recent memory had to do with the abuse of anonymous sources. Almost every story you see with anonymous sources is just someone dishing dirt on a rival or praising their own.

Except for the NSA whistle blowers, I cannot think of any story of recent memory involving anonymous sources that could have gone unreported without harm to the public interest, and in most cases we would have been better served had such stories never seen the light of day.

Alice said...

Anonymous sources should be reserved for whistle blowers in extraordinary situations. It is unlikely that readers of the Bull Dog Reporter fall into that catagory.