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Archive for March 15th, 2012

Because I wrote today about unnamed sources, I thought this might be a good time to republish a blog post from my old Training Tracks blog for the American Press Institute. This was originally published Dec. 19, 2005. I have not checked to see whether the links are still good, but I think I should leave them in even if they aren’t:

The New York Times story on domestic spying by the Bush administration provides a bit of a comeback for the legitimate use of confidential sources.

That story presented lots to argue about: Should the Times have yielded to administration pressure and waited a year to publish the story (especially if that “year” was really a year-plus and meant they waited until after the 2004 elections)? Should the Times have published the story at all?

This much is clear, though: You can’t question the credibility of the story because the reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, did not name their sources. President Bush confirmed the story the next day. (more…)

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Annual advertising revenue figures from the Newspaper Association of America underscore why the Digital First approach is important and urgent.

I won’t bother to analyze the figures in depth. Alan Mutter and Rick Edmonds did a thorough job of that.

Here’s what I did: I used the CPI Inflation Calculator to convert the annual print ad revenue figures from 2005 through 2011 into 2012 dollars. After adjusting for inflation, ad spending fell by 62 percent in six years: from $55 billion in 2005 ($47 billion before adjusting) to $21 billion last year. (more…)

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Update: Wall Street Journal reporter David Enrich has responded. I have added his response below.

Jay Rosen is absolutely right to call out the Wall Street Journal on its inexcusable use of unnamed sources in the Goldman Sachs story.

Who is the first of the 5 W’s, one of journalism’s fundamentals. You need a compelling reason to withhold a source’s identity, and the Wall Street Journal had no such reason to withhold names in reporting the Goldman Sachs response to a New York Times op-ed piece about the ethics and culture of Goldman Sachs by Greg Smith.

Here’s one of the passages in question:

“We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business,” a Goldman spokeswoman said. “In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.” (more…)

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