ESPN’s Ray Rice reporting made responsible use of unnamed sources

Anonymous sources are a pain sometimes. For example, think of the Fox reporter who is in the middle of litigation for refusing to reveal her source in the release of image of the notebook allegedly sent by James Holmes just before the Aurora Theater Shooting. Steve Buttry offers some great input and a powerful analysis of unnamed sources.

The Buttry Diary

Many journalists and news organizations grant confidentiality too readily, sacrificing credibility in the quest of a story. But I think ESPN handled confidentiality responsibly in its reporting on the response by the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL to Ray Rice’s assault on his fiancée.

In a discussion on Facebook, Bryan Sears asked what I thought about ESPN’s use of unnamed sources:

I hate to call people out but Steve Buttry has some serious chops when it comes to the issue of use of anonymous sources and I’m hoping he’d be willing to contribute his thoughts about how ESPN used anonymous sources in the story and what it does to the credibility of the story and are the reporters able to adequately shore up the weaknesses inherent with the use of unnamed sources in such a controversial piece.

Two points before I address the question:

  1. Thanks for the…

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