As a general rule, Daily News does not publish information or quotes from anonymous sources. If you can’t give us your name, we can’t use your statements.
Unfortunately, we broke that rule that last Sunday in a story about the Richland 44 School District. It was a mistake, and we pulled four paragraphs from the online version that contained an anonymous citizen’s opinions relating to the handling of the district’s budget as well as calling out an administrator and a school board member.
There is a very short list of instances in which we may allow anonymity in our stories, and even then at least two people in the newsroom – the reporter and the editor – must know the person’s identity. In either scenario, we must assess the source’s trustworthiness and be able to verify what the source tells us.
The first instance is if the person giving us the information could be harmed if they were identified as our source.
The second instance is if the information is of such overwhelming interest to the community and there is no other way we could get that information.
The four paragraphs in last Sunday’s story did not meet either criteria, and therefore, should not have run. We have all learned from this.
At the national level, readers are becoming more accustomed to seeing the use of anonymous sources in routine government and political stories, but it tests journalism’s credibility with readers.
In our publication, Daily News, anonymity should be a last resort for instances when we cannot otherwise publish information we consider newsworthy and reliable.
We strive to be a trustworthy source of news and information for our communities, and must abide by our own policies to ensure our integrity.