NIU Speak Your Mind: Posting Anonymously to Newspaper Websites

NIU Speak Your Mind: Posting Anonymously to Newspaper Websites


(music) Jason Akst (NIU Journalism Instructor): I
am against news organizations using anonymity or even pseudonyms for several reasons. Bill Cassidy (NIU Journalism Instructor):
Even though anonymity has a long and valuable tradition in American journalism, I think
it is really good policy actually binding newspapers not to allow anonymous comments
on their stories. Jason Akst: Anonymity promotes fearlessness.
People are much more careful with their words and their tone of voice. Bill Cassidy: These anonymous comments influence
readers’ perceptions of the story itself. Jason Akst: There’s a lot of research in journalism
and public relations that suggests, pretty strongly, that people believe information
much more fully when they know where the information comes from. Bill Cassidy: Given the kind of impact these
comments have, I think that it is really good policy to bind these newspapers to not allow
anonymous commentary. Jason Akst: Quality journalism is distinguished
in our ability to verify information and when we allow people to post commentary anonymously
or with a pseudonym that makes our jobs more difficult. (music)

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