Nieman Watchdog

Naming Sources

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Increasingly reporters cite anonymous sources rather than provide readers, viewers and listeners with actual names. At this conference, journalists, whose work demonstrates how information was gathered from sources who agreed to be named in the story, told how they had … Read more

Verifying What Sources Say

Watchdog September 15, 1999

As helpful or reliable as sources might seem to be, no reporter should accept their version of events without finding documentation to back up what they say. None of the investigative reporters at the conference could have published their stories … Read more

Stages of Reporting: Finding and Using Sources

Watchdog September 15, 1999

Several reporters devoted much of their presentations to describing how they went about finding sources and gathering information from them. In all cases, these reporters did not use anonymous sources and worked hard to ensure that information would be attached … Read more

When Reporters are Shut Out By Sources

Watchdog September 15, 1999

What happens when reporters are shut out by sources whom they believe are necessary to report a story? Several journalists at the Watchdog conference argued that reporters often do their best work when the usual sources aren’t available. Read more

The Role of Reporters’ Judgment

Watchdog September 15, 1999

A question from the audience elicited discussion about whether there can ever be truly “independent sources.” The whole notion of independent sources, this questioner posed to the journalists, “is an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp or educational TV.” “Is there,” he … Read more

How the Real Story Gets Told in Pictures

Watchdog September 15, 1999

For five and a half years, Pete Souza was the official White House photographer during the Reagan Administration. His intimate access to the President provided him with an ability to produce pictures that captured authentic expressions through which real stories … Read more

Reporters’ Relationships With Sources

Watchdog September 15, 1999

No topic consumed as much of the conversation at the Watchdog conference as that of reporters’ relationships with sources. How are these relationships established? How can and should they be maintained during the course of reporting a story? Where should … Read more

In Britain, Rottweilers Attack

By Watchdog September 15, 1998

The timing could not have been better. Several days after I was asked, as a Nieman Fellow, to write an article on the apparent lack of civility by British journalists, the Local Government Minister, Hilary Armstrong, reacted furiously while being … Read more