SBD/October 14, 2011/Media

Grantland.com Writers Weigh In On Use Of Anonymous Sources For Red Sox Expose

Jones imagines the piece will be "one of the Globe's most-read stories this year"
The use of anonymous sources was debated by GRANTLAND.com's Jonah Keri and Chris Jones after Wednesday's Boston Globe story on the Red Sox' late-season collapse relied heavily on quotes from people who did not disclose their name. Keri wrote it is "the sourcing of this story above all else that's punching me in the face." While acknowledging that the Globe's article is "hardly alone in using anonymous sources to gather key material," he wrote, "Here’s where I stand on anonymous sources: I’d love to see journalists use them only in extreme cases, or when the subject is trivial." Keri added, "It might be that every single fact reported in the Globe story is 100 percent true. But the burden is on the reporter to prove it. Going to the accused is a decent start. But it’s not nearly enough. If it were up to me, I’d want to see hard evidence that the accusations made are in fact true, and all sources being named, before running a story, especially one this inflammatory and potentially damaging to reputations." Jones wrote "important stories might not get written without" anonymous sources, and "whether you like it or not, in Boston this is an important story." Jones: "I imagine this will be one of the Globe's most-read stories this year. Eyes win. ... I can’t imagine any writer enjoys using anonymous sources. There’s something about their use that automatically makes a story look shady, and that’s partly because they’re almost exclusively used in negative stories." Globe Sports Editor Joe Sullivan said Wednesday, "Our goal is to never use unnamed sources. Unfortunately it is sometimes the only way to make important information public. ... Our sources are always people who have knowledge of or are directly involved in the story" (GRANTLAND.com, 10/12). Meanwhile, ESPN’s J.A. Adande said the media has “become so self-obsessed and self-absorbed and the blogosphere is so obsessed with the media that we spend more time analyzing the sourcing of a story rather than the content of the story” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/13).

ALL RED SOX, ALL THE TIME: A Boston Globe spokesperson said that "traffic or pageviews for the sports section on Boston.com were three times the daily year-to-date average" on Wednesday (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Peter May notes the top three most e-mailed articles on the Globe's website Thursday morning "were about the Red Sox, just ahead of one on the rise in fuel oil prices for the coming winter." ESPN Radio 1400 Boston's Adam Jones said, "It’s pretty much been nonstop Red Sox since the collapse." Jones estimated that "more than 90 percent of his callers wanted to talk about the team" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).
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