Anonymous source tracker
Continuously updated examples of the media's use of anonymous sources
In a News 11 exclusive, the man who found her body that fateful night, but did not wish to be identified, spoke to us about the moments leading to her discovery. “I was driving through the field, and to the left of the tractor I saw some legs sticking ...
Opposing Views — Banks Refusing to Serve Adult Performers for 'Moral Reasons?'
One porn industry veteran who did not wish to be identified told NBC News, “The people within my bank have urged me to downplay the nature of my business because corporate frowns on it.” Banks attitudes toward adult entertainment would be particularly ...
fox6now.com — Bombs kills 9, wound 70 in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Kabul. (CNN) — At least nine people were killed and more than 70 others were injured Friday after two Toyota Corollas exploded in southern Afghanistan late Friday, a government official said. Three police officers were among those killed ...
New York Times — A Killing in the Village Is Called a Hate Crime
The victim was Marc Carson, 32, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the name had not been officially released. Detectives were still trying to identify the suspect they took into custody, an effort ...
The Mercury — Cyprus may get its moon rock after 40 years
The official, who insisted on anonymity because he's not authorized to speak to the media, said it will still take some time before the rock reaches Cyprus because some bureaucratic hurdles are involved. The lunar souvenir is encased in a plastic globe.
allvoices — CIA chief in Israel for talks on regional issues - AllVoices
In a related development, the New York Times reported according to an Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity, that Israel is considering more air strikes on Syria to prevent the transfer of arms to Islamist militants and Hezbollah . The ...
Patch.com — Man Taken to Hospital in Helicopter After Serious Motorcycle Crash
The motorcycle crashed into the passenger side corner of the Audi's hood. The windshield was aslo smashed and the car's airbag went off. The motorcycle was down on the side of the road after the crash. A neighbor, who did not want to be identified ...
The Guardian Charlottetown — Canada Post assessing options to remain self-sustaining in digital age
A Canada Post employee who did not want to be identified says some residential customers have complained of mail taking more than the postal service's norm of two days to be mailed within the province since the change. Some business operators have ...
4-traders (press release) — ENRC Rebuffs Initial Consortium Approach of Cash and Shares
The miner didn't disclose the details of the offer it received but a person familiar with the matter said the consortium had offered a mix of cash and shares that valued ENRC's shares at 247 pence ($3.77) a share, or a 7.5% premium to the company's ...
Business Times (subscription) — LONG-TERM VIEW
"Xi is keen to see some real changes," said the economist, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. Big injections of policy stimulus appear to be off the table after Premier Li Keqiang was quoted by state media as saying on ...
Shanghai Daily (subscription) — Negotiation with Islamic movements underway to release 7 Egyptian soldiers
The abducted recruits are located between Rafah and Shiakh Zoied cities, said the official who requested anonymity. "Negotiations are ongoing to release the soldiers, but the demands of the kidnapers, who belong to Jihadist movement, are beyond the ...
Yahoo!7 News — Mexico violence claims hundreds of US lives
The US official, who requested anonymity, declined to speculate as to why Mexico leads the list. The database shows just the date, location and type of death. Overall, 8,392 Americans were reported dead worldwide in categories ranging from road ...
About the tracker
The goal of the anonymous source tracker is to make the media's use of anonymous sources more transparent. It's an experiment, and as such it's imperfect and subject to change.
While it finds many examples of the use of anonymous sources, it doesn't find all anonymous sources used by newspapers, magazines, TV stations, wire services or other news outlets online.
It gets its examples from the English version of Google News. Phrases commonly used to identify anonymous sources are fed to Google News, which produces an Atom feed for each phrase. Those feeds are then combined under a single label, "anonymous," in Google Reader. That feed is public. Every hour a PHP script grabs the Google Reader feed, extracts the summary text, highlights the anonymous source phrasing, and puts it in a database to display on the anonymous source tracker.
Some examples are rejected, even though the articles they point to used anonymous sources, because the anonymous source phrasing isn't in the summary.
Some examples are duplicates. If a URL is already in the database, those examples are rejected. But sometimes the same story can have different URLs, so the same story can appear more than once. The same wire story may also be run by multiple outlets.
The news outlets scanned are the same outlets scanned by Google News. I don't know what criteria Google News uses to decide whether to include a Web site.
Typically Google returns a search result for a phrase giving a summary for only one outlet, with an "and more" link pointing to other matches for stories on the same subject. The anonymous source tracker doesn't grab those "and more" results, so many examples are undoubtedly missed.
I don't know how Google does what it does or why, or why one outlet is given prominence for a given search while another isn't, so I don't know if all outlets are being treated equally by the anonymous source tracker.
The count for each news outlet doesn't include every anonymously sourced story produced by that outlet. The counts shouldn't be considered valid rankings.
To quote Donald Rumsfeld, "there are known unknowns."
"That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know."
|Wall Street Journal||10,909|
|New York Times||4,597|
|San Francisco Chronicle||2,799|
|The Associated Press||2,594|
|Los Angeles Times||2,169|
|New York Daily News||2,134|
|Times of India||2,077|
|New York Post||1,864|
|New York Times (blog)||1,212|
|Wall Street Journal (blog)||1,141|
|The Star-Ledger - NJ.com||1,049|
|San Jose Mercury News||823|
|Washington Post (blog)||777|
|Sydney Morning Herald||736|
|The News International||654|
|Globe and Mail||599|