Screenwipe on anonymous sourcing

In this segment from Charlie Brooker's Newswipe, Heather Brooke highlights the problems of anonymous sources in the UK media, where police spokespersons frequently mislead the public about suspects and investigations. [Video Link]

Read more:
Anodyne Anonymity, by Cory Doctorow
A fatal lack of accounting, by Heather Brooke
Everything tagged Journalism at Boing Boing


  1. Good video. Reminds me of one incident where a respected journalist claimed LulzSec had illegally accessed the UK Census database, based on one anonymous source (a text file containing the claims), despite the Office for National Statistics denying it.

    Of course, it turned out to be a non-story, fueled by exactly the kind of speculative, scaremongering reports Brooke discusses in the video.

    Can’t recall that journalist’s name now. Anyone remember?

    edit: oh yeah, here it is:

  2. Isn’t that sort of the point of having journalists though? To separate the truth from the lies? Anonymous sourcing helps to protect whistleblowers that would find it hard to have a career if it were not for their anonymity. Surely it is far more important, as mentioned as a caveat in the 19th paragraph of that piece, for the press not to just print everything they’re told?

    1. We don’t want to hear your opinion; you’re a paedophile with links to Al Qaeda (sources say).

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