In respect to journalism, a source is the informant or supply of information for the journalist's piece. Any outlet in which the journalist receives their information can be the source. Examples of sources are interviewees, witnesses of any events, public records, or other publications and broadcasts. Sources can be anonymous or quoted directly depending on the situation or request of the source. Any type of journalism needs to incorporate some type of source into their work, as it helps establish credibility and much needed background.
Journalist's code of ethics have specific rules and codes for source attribution, or identification. Confidential sources should not be released but instead protected. There are numerous classifications of attribution including on-the-record, unattributable, and off-the-record. Each of these help journalists know the regulations with sources.
Return to Journalism Encyclopedia.