President Trump called for the media to stop their use of anonymous sources during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference this year.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” Trump said. “Let them (the source) say it to my face.”
Journalists and professors at Michigan State said anonymous sources are important for reporters, even though they should only be used as a last resort.
According to Journalism Professor Sue Carter, anonymous sourcing isn’t the preferred method of reporting but sometimes it’s the only way to get information for a story.
“When a source asks to be anonymous, try to encourage them to go on record, don’t accept anonymity out the gate,” Carter said. “There is more validity with a straightforward source than an anonymous one. With an anonymous source, you have to get a second conformation on the information since the public can’t test the information outright.”
Scott Pohl, a reporter and host of WKAR’s “Current State,” also said that he only goes to anonymous sourcing as a last resort.
“Anytime I’ve dealt with someone who wanted to remain anonymous I’ve asked them more than once to not be,” Pohl said. “I don’t badger them, I don’t want them to back off because I hammered on going off record.”
At the State News, Features editor McKenna Ross said that they only use anonymous sources under special circumstances.
“We try to only use anonymous sources if the source is a victim of sexual assault or if their job could be on the line or some personal harm could happen by speaking to us,” Ross said.
At the conference Trump continued his attack on media outlets that he dubbed “fake news.” The president called fake news “the enemy of the American people” before shifting to other criticisms of the media.
Ross said these attacks are just a diversive technique to draw attention away from the administration’s missteps.
“Every time he (Trump) attacks the media he is just trying to put the blame on us for finding something that he isn’t happy with,” she said.
Below is more audio from Scott Pohl: