Anonymous Sources in Our Daily News
This activity looks at the use of anonymous or unnamed sources in news stories.
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- Current Events
- 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.
- Have students look through a newspaper or at an online news website to find two stories that use anonymous or unnamed sources.
- 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?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.