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Duration
Less than 30 minutes
Topic(s)
  • Current Events
  • Journalism
Grade(s)
  • 6-12

  1. Tell students that reporters sometimes use anonymous or unnamed sources to get information for their stories. These are people who, for various reasons, don’t want their names made public.
  2.  Have students look through a newspaper or at an online news website to find two stories that use anonymous or unnamed sources.
  3.  Distribute the worksheet for students to complete.

  • Anonymous Sources in Our Daily News worksheet (download), one per student
  • Newspapers or access to online news sites

Have students share their findings. Then ask:

  • Was it difficult to find examples of anonymous or unnamed sources?
  • Is the use widespread in the news profession?
  • Are there types of stories in which you are more likely to find anonymous sources (i.e. election stories, international diplomacy, military, government policy)?
  • Were the sources crucial to the story?
  • Does the use of anonymous sources affect the credibility of a story?
  • Do you think the practice is overused or misused by reporters? Why or why not?

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