Privileged Conversations (Reporters' Protection of News Sources)

Edited by: Larry E. Sullivan

In: The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Privileged Conversations (Reporters' Protection of News Sources)

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  • Reporters rely on sources to provide them with information for a story. These sources may speak “on the record” and be identified by name. Unnamed sources also provide valuable information and may be identified as an unnamed “government spokesperson” or “industry analyst” or some such similar term. Background or “deep background” information may be provided by people speaking “off the record,” who are not identified even by occupation. The identity of unnamed sources is generally known only to the reporter and perhaps revealed to the editor. Many stories, particularly about sensitive and/or controversial issues, could not have been developed without the information supplied by anonymous and/or confidential sources. Legally, conversations between reporters and anonymous or confidential sources are considered somewhat privileged, similar to conversations ...

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