A couple of weeks back, the New York Times printed a letter of complaint from the News Of The World's managing editor Bill Akass. Responding to the Times' story about Andy Coulson and his team phonehacking their way through the great and the good, Akass snorted out this paragraph of disgust:
Sources: In the days prior to publication the Standards Editor Phil Corbett wrote to all staff reminding them of the NYT’s ethical guidelines with regards to anonymous sources. We were surprised therefore to see the finished article was based almost entirely on anonymous sources – a “dozen former reporters”- whose credibility, seniority, motives or qualifications we are therefore prevented from challenging. The article also cites anonymous “detectives” and “prosecutors”.So, running stories with only one named source is bad. It's worse than bad, it's unethical.
There was one single named source who claimed direct knowledge of wrongdoing, as opposed to hearsay or supposition. This is pretty thin evidence on which to hang a 6,000 word investigation. I believe that by failing to adhere to their own stringent rules when dealing with the News of the World story, the NYT’s reporters and editors demonstrated clear bias.
Hmm. There's a bit in Dan Wootton's column about Natalie Imbruglia standing in for Keith Duffy on a Boyzone tour (a bit like using champagne instead of root beer in an ice cream float) and that is sourced. But then there's a totally separate story about Ronan Keating:
Ronan, who is already battling for his marriage to YVONNE, is also struggling to cope as the anniversary of Steo's death on October 10 looms.And on and on runs the quote. From an unnamed source. "[W]hose credibility, seniority, motives or qualifications we are therefore prevented from challenging."
A source said: "The memory of Stephen's death is flooding back to Ronan. They were very close, like brothers, and Ronan has been going through a rocky patch."