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On the Condition of AnonymityUnnamed Sources and the Battle for Journalism$
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Matt Carlson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252035999

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252035999.001.0001

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Rethinking Anonymity: Problems and Solutions

Rethinking Anonymity: Problems and Solutions

(p.138) 6 Rethinking Anonymity: Problems and Solutions
On the Condition of Anonymity

Matt Carlson

University of Illinois Press

This chapter draws together major themes that persist across the previous chapters. Journalists responded to the struggle over unnamed sources as victims of structural hindrances they encountered in their work. While contemporary journalism does face complex problems, the chapter argues that we cannot account for controversies over unnamed sources solely through this frame. Such a perspective ignores the relationship between unnamed sources and the status needs of elite journalists and their news outlets. This combination of media structure and individual action complicates efforts to repair journalism. The culture of unnamed sources as it exists benefits sources and journalists—while often ignoring the public interest.

Keywords:   journalists, anonymity, unnamed sources, controversies, contemporary journalism, media structure, individual action, public interest

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