Editorial Policies:

GUIDELINES FOR USING UNSPECIFIED SOURCES

 The use of unspecified sources erodes our reliability and should be avoided. When there is no other way to acquire information that is fundamental to the reader’s understanding of the story line, these guidelines apply:

 1. The identity of an unspecified source must be shared with and approved by the Editor proceeding to the publication. The Editor must be confident that the information presented to the reader is precise, not just that somebody said it. This as a rule will require affirmation from a second source or from documents. When a single confidential source is cited without further support in the story, the Editor must be confident that information presented is based on first-hand knowledge and is reliable. 

2. The same principles apply to the use of confidential documents. It is not enough to know and sign off on the identity of the source of the documents. The Editor must be pleased that the documents are valid and reliable and the chain of custody of the documents can be traced to their originators. 


3. Anonymous sources must be cited only as a last resort. This applies not just to direct quotes but to the use of anonymous sources generally. Before accepting their use for publication, the Editor must be confident that there is no better way to present the information and that the information is important enough to justify the broader cost in reader trust. 

4. Anonymous sources may only be used to report specifics. Anonymous accusations and speculation are not acceptable. 

5. Sources should understand that if information is attributed to them anonymously in the newspaper, the Editor will know their identity. They should also understand they may be identified if their information proves to be bogus or unsubstantiated.


 6. Reporters may not enter into agreements with sources that specify when information will be used in PALM REPORTERS or under what circumstances without the shortest contribution of an editorial staff. This includes committing to a specific publication date, location in the site or any other understanding that limits PALM REPORTERS independent news judgment. 


7. Sources cited in line reports or by other media should be used only when extremely necessary. When using sources from another media, they should be certified to the appropriate organization, citing its description of the source.

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